Special purpose districts (SPDs) are the most numerous units of government in Texas, yet many people know relatively little about their function, structure, or governance, earning them the nickname: Invisible Governments.

SPDs are independent governmental entities that exist locally and provide infrastructure and deliver specific services, like firefighting, road construction, and water treatment. Districts can be created by local government bodies, the Texas Legislature, or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Generally, SPDs are governed by the commissioners court of the county of their origin or by a board of directors.