This photo shows the two pump stations we have taking water from a channel coming off the Rio Grande River in Hidalgo, Texas. The pump station on the left is 20 years old. The one on the right is over 100 years old. They lift water about 35 to 45 feet. Both pump stations work and can operate independently of each other. 


Welcome to the new web site for Hidalgo County Water Improvement District No. 3. 

The board of directors of HCWID No. 3 has launched this new web site in order to comply with Senate Bill 2185, which was passed by the 87th Texas Legislature in 2021.

We did not like the original SB 2185 and are thankful it was found to be unconstitutional. However, we are pleased with the revamped bill. It requires transparency from HCWID No. 3, something we are always keen to provide.

Indeed, we believe we are the only water district in Texas that has been asked to create a web site and to post copies on that site of the checks we have issued. Therefore, in terms of transparency, HCWID No. 3 is going above and beyond, and we are happy to do so.

Going above and beyond is nothing new to this historic water district. We are the most reliable water district to operate during a hurricane or severe cold weather. As a case in point, during the big freeze of February 2021, we provided uninterrupted water service to farmers in the district and to the City of McAllen. In fact, we received an acknowledgement from the City of McAllen for providing so much water that McAllen officials were able to extend water services to neighboring cities that were struggling. We accomplished this because of the huge capital improvements we had proactively added to our pump station in Hidalgo, Texas.

We hope you enjoy the contents of this web site which will be regularly updated with news about the water district, information about water issues in general, and vignettes of HCWID No. 3’s history.

We welcome feedback. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email

Othal Brand, Jr.
Hidalgo County Water Improvement District No. 3.

Here Is A

Message From the President

Our information and education centers on perhaps the most universally important topic of our time: WATER.  But, as experts will tell you, there is no “new” water. That means every year we must figure out how to provide water for 365,000 additional people. Not an easy job.

          Many say Texas’ water is just as valuable and essential as Texas’ oil. With that in mind, I am excited to write a regular column on these pages about water and how we best conserve and utilize it. Stay tuned.

A little bit

About Us

Water districts in the Rio Grande Valley were established in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The Valley is home to 23 of them.

These water districts were originally designed and built by Midwestern and Northeastern land developers who came to our region and bought thousands of acres of land. They quickly put irrigation systems in place because, back in those days, if you wanted to build a community you understood it would be based on agriculture.

Hence, most of the water districts here are older than the Valley’s cities. When the City of McAllen was chartered in 1917, the precursor to Hidalgo County Water District No. 3 (HCWID No. 3) was already in operation as a private venture. In 1921, HCWID No. 3 became a public entity.

To this day, the majority of drainage for Hidalgo and Cameron Counties is through irrigation systems developed by the individual water districts. If you look at a local map today, virtually every major city in the Valley is built inside a water district’s boundaries. Hardly any development takes place outside water district boundaries.

Obviously, water districts have been critical to the Rio Grande Valley’s development. Cities may have good streets, good government and good schools, but without water they are useless.  So, for me, water districts are the cornerstone for agriculture, cities, and investors looking to come to the Valley.

Few people realize the relevance of our water districts. People think we are part of county or city infrastructure, but that’s not true.  We are a standalone public entity with virtually the same powers so, legally, we are the equal of our surrounding cities and counties.

In the case of HCWID No. 3, we cover about ten square miles in the cities of Hidalgo and McAllen.

Here Is

Our Board
of Directors

Othal Brand, Jr. – President
Chris Burns -Vice President
Mark Freeland – Secretary
W.D. Moschel – Member
Lance Neuhaus – Member

Education Program

water improvement district 3
original history document
A little bit of


According to the organization’s minutes, Hidalgo County Water Improvement District No. 3 was formed in McAllen on April 12, 1921.

That means HCWID No. 3 is now 100 years old! Time for a celebration, you say? Indeed, our current directors plan to host a birthday party later in the year for its members and supporters. (More about this in a later posting.)

The first president of HCWID No. 3 was Mr. John W. Ewing. He was nominated by a Mr. F. B. Freeland whose vote was seconded by a Mr. T. G. Murrow. There were no further nominations, and Mr. Ewing was unanimously elected.

A Mr. E. W. Smith nominated Mr. Freeland as secretary of HCWID No. 3, and Mr. Murrow seconded the motion. With no further nominations, Mr. Freeland was unanimously elected.

A Mr. Gordon Griffin was elected president pro-tem, and Mr. Smith was elected secretary pro-tem.

The minutes of the first meeting show that a Mr. E.M. Card was deemed a “competent and suitable” engineer. He was thus employed by HCWID No. 3 to survey and mark the water district’s boundaries with suitable monuments. For this, Mr. Card would be paid $500.

At that first meeting, the members also agreed to “get in touch with different machinery houses to secure designs and prices of engines and pumps that would be suitable and proper” for the water district.

Then a Mr. J.E. Leslie of McAllen was engaged as the water district’s attorney.

HCWID No. 3 has a great history of looking after the water needs of the farmers and residents of McAllen and neighboring areas. Therefore, this section of the web site will regularly delve into interesting history. We welcome feedback from the general public, so please let us know your views by emailing

Here We Find HCWID3

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