The land comprising Sugar Land was granted to Samuel M. Williams through Stephen F. Austin, who arrived in Texas with the first 300 settlers in the 1820s. Williams called the area “Oakland Plantation” due to the many varieties of oaks on the land. Williams later obtained Sugar Cane stalks from Cuba and began cultivating the product.
In 1853, Benjamin Franklin Terry and William Jefferson Kyle purchased “Oakland Plantation” from the Williams family. The land, rich in sugar cane, was appropriately renamed “Sugar Land.” The operation passed through various hands and was purchased by I. H. Kempner and W. T. Eldridge in 1907, at which time the sugar refining process was expanded to what is now known as Imperial Holly Corporation. The town was incorporated as a city in 1959.
The city’s population has boomed from 2,802 residents in 1960 to 87,367 people in 2016. Sugar Land is the most populous city in Fort Bend County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
For more than four decades, the City of Sugar Land and the Brazos River Authority have maintained a strong partnership in meeting that community’s needs. In 1975, the City of Sugar Land contracted with the Brazos River Authority to operate its municipal wastewater treatment plant and expanded the contract to include a second plant in the mid-2000s. Owned by the City of Sugar Land and operated by the BRA, together the two plants are able to treat more than 13 million gallons per day of wastewater.
As part of their wastewater treatment program, in 2015, the City of Sugar Land opened a water reclamation facility at the city’s South plant. The facility allows for the use of treated effluent or reclaimed water for landscaping and is an important component of water conservation efforts.
The reclamation facility is a partnership of the City of Sugar Land and the Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District 128. The MUD can use up to 2 million gallons of treated wastewater to fill amenity lakes and for irrigation.
In addition to providing wastewater services for the city, in 2010 the City of Sugar Land contracted with the BRA for more than 6,000 acre-feet of raw water annually in efforts to transition from the use of groundwater to surface water. The transition in water sources is a part of the City’s Groundwater Reduction Plan required by the Fort Bend Subsidence District. Since August 2013, the city reduced groundwater withdrawals by 30 percent, or 9 million gallons per day, according to a city report. Subsidence is a drop in the land surface level sometimes caused when groundwater is pumped from an aquifer and increases the risk of flooding.
For more information about the city of Sugar Land’s wastewater and water services, visit http://www.sugarlandtx.gov/utilities