The Water District Building is situated on land granted by the King of Spain to Eugenio Fernandez and Bartolome Fernandez on March 1, 1789. This grant is known as the Concepcion de Carricitos grant. Descendants of Bartolome and Eugenio owned much of the grant when the Mexican War ended in 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo provided that provable grants issued before 1836 would be recognized by the State of Texas.

Brownsville lawyer Stephen Powers (1814-1882) successfully represented the Fernandez heirs in confirming the title to their land. Powers received an undivided interest in the grant as his fee. He acquired additional undivided interests in the grant by purchase, so that by the time of his death on February 5, 1882, he owned 26,354 undivided acres of the grant. Powers was an officer in Zachary Taylor's Army. When the U.S. Army began marching toward Monterrey in July, 1846, Taylor promoted Powers to colonel and appointed him to a military commission to govern Matamoros and the surrounding area. In 1849, Powers established a law practice in Brownsville.

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On February 7, 1855, he married Pauline Victoire (Butler) Impey. To this marriage, two daughters were born, Agnes Anastacia Powers and Frances Euphemia Powers. Pauline had two children by a prior marriage, Annette Pauline Impey and Kate Maria Impey Agnes married James A. Browne, Frances married James L. Landrum, Kate married Dr. Charles B.Combe and Annette married Benjamin 0. Hicks. In his will, Stephen Powers gave his interest in the Concepcion de Carricitos Grant in equal shares to Agnes, Frances, Kate, and Annette.