Conservation

Sharpen your water saving skills

In Tarrant County, almost two million of us rely on water stored in reservoirs to meet our daily water needs. Think showers, cooking, cleaning, drinking, steaming, scrubbing, washing, and … flushing. All of that. It’s a finite supply that depends on rainfall and runoff to get replenished. But, we live in Texas and droughts are a part of life here. In addition, we live in a popular place. North Texas is growing and we will need water to meet the new demands.

Water conservation helps with both scenarios. By using water more efficiently on a daily basis – we can meet the needs of a growing population and make sure we have enough to make it through even the toughest drought with some to spare.

Please use the information presented on this page as a start to find easy ways to sharpen your water saving skills. Additional information is available on SaveTarrantWater.com and WaterIsAwesome.com.

Indoor Water Saving Tips

Easy ways to save big
IMG_3293
Another way to achieve a bundle of savings for you and the environment – just look for the WaterSense label when replacing old or worn-out fixtures or appliances. WaterSense makes it easy for you to select products that use less water, yet perform as well or better than conventional models. That’s because these products are put to the test before they make the cut. In fact, fixtures like bathroom faucets and toilets with the WaterSense label are designed to be 20 percent more efficient than their counterparts.
Leaky toilets can waste hundreds of gallons per week. Fixing those leaks is usually as simple as replacing the toilet flapper.

1. Remove the tank lid.
2. Drop a dye tablet or add 10 drops of food coloring to the tank.
3. Put the lid back on. Don’t flush yet.
4. Wait at least 10–15 minutes. If colored water appears in the bowl, you have a leak.
5. Be sure to flush once the verdict is known, to avoid staining the inside of the tank.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted each year, which adds up to the volume of water needed to wash about 270 loads of laundry.

Here’s what you can do to see if your house has a leak:
1. To determine if you have a leak, please allow for 30–60 minutes during which time no water should be used on the property.
2. Find your water meter, usually located in the front of the house near the street.
3. Remove the lid and write down the numbers indicated on the meter at the start of the test.
4. Return to check the meter reading after 30–60 minutes has passed.
5. If the numbers haven’t changed, you do not have a leak. You’re done.
6. If the numbers have changed, close the shutoff valves under all toilets in the house, and repeat steps 1–4.
7. If the numbers have not changed after shutting off the toilet valves, you may have a running toilet that should be serviced.

Wash only full loads of clothes and dishes – this saves water and energy.
When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running while you wash. Fill the second side of the sink with rinse water instead. Besides, you’re fighting a losing battle when you compare washing those dinner dishes by hand (16-25 gallons) with today’s energy efficient dishwashers (4-7 gallons).
Turn the water off when brushing your teeth or shaving. You knew this one was coming, didn’t you?
 

Water is Awesome

Use it. Enjoy it. Just don’t waste it.
Water-awesome 600x325

Water is Awesome is a joint public awareness campaign from the Tarrant Regional Water District and the City of Dallas Water Utilities to encourage North Texas residents to be more efficient with their water use. Water is an amazing, but finite resource. By using it efficiently we can help ensure that our region has a clean and reliable water supply for decades to come. Use it. Enjoy it. Just don’t waste it.

map-iconLearn Morechevron

Outdoor Water Saving Tips

Savings for all seasons
IMG_3293
Many homeowners over water their lawns, either by watering too often or by applying way more water than necessary. You can encourage deeper roots and a more drought-tolerant lawn by spacing out your irrigation days to water no more than two days a week – even less if it’s rained.
Following the weekly watering advice currently offered every Monday on SaveTarrantWater.com, will help you save thousands of gallons of water annually. The weekly advice takes weather conditions and rainfall into account to let you know whether or not you really need to water your lawn this week. The idea here is to rely on Mother Nature to satisfy your landscape’s watering needs and to use irrigation systems to supplement rainfall when necessary. Homeowners that follow the watering advice can keep their irrigation systems off an average of 25 or more weeks out of the year.
Keeping your irrigation cycles short, six to eight minutes per cycle for spray heads and 12–14 minutes for rotors, will help minimize runoff and water waste. Splitting up one long irrigation cycle into two shorter ones and allowing some time in between them (30 minutes to an hour) gives water a chance to soak into the ground. It’s an irrigation method commonly referred to as “cycle and soak.”
Make sure your rain and freeze sensors are working properly on your sprinkler system. If you don’t have one, install one. Rain and freeze sensors will trigger an automatic sprinkler system to shut off during downpours or when temperatures dip near freezing. They are a proven way to reduce your overall outdoor water use by 5–10 percent.
When we leave our irrigation systems programmed to run on a regular schedule, we often miss out on opportunities to save tons of water – which is another way of saying we often waste tons of water. Keeping track of rainfall amounts is a good way to know if you need to water or not.
When was the last time you put some eyeballs on your irrigation system and checked to see that it’s working as it should, i.e., no mini-geysers or misdirected sprinkler heads? Many homeowners are sound asleep while their irrigation systems are running and they have no idea if there’s a problem. It’s a good practice to cycle through your irrigation zones for a short time every so often to make sure you don’t have any broken or tilted sprinkler heads, and that they’re spraying in the right direction, not into the street or on the sidewalk.
Check toilet flappers, faucets, irrigation systems, and swimming pools. Fix leaking faucets and toilets. Most leaks are an easy fix, and spending a few minutes repairing them could save your family thousands of gallons of water per year.
Replacing water-thirsty plants with plants that are native or adapted to our region can help you reduce your water use. Native plants are drought-tolerant. They can take the Texas heat, thrive in year.
Mulching is one of the best things you can do in your garden and landscape beds. Placing a 2- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch (like shredded leaves, bark, or wood chips) in flowerbeds and around trees and shrubs helps the soil retain moisture, limits weed growth, and helps moderate soil temperatures. Mulch also helps prevent soil erosion and releases nutrients back into the soil as it decomposes. And finally, mulch can help you polish up the look of your garden. Who doesn’t want that?
Note: When mulching around trees and shrubs, don’t pile it up against the trunk or stems of plants. This can lead to insect and disease issues.
Taller grass holds moisture better and slows down evaporation. It also encourages your lawn to grow deeper roots. There is a direct link between grass height and root depth. As a rule, the higher the grass is cut, the deeper the roots go. And lawns with deeper roots can better endure the stress that comes with summer heat. If you’re cutting your grass short, try raising your blade a notch or two. A mowing height of 3 inches is a good all-around height for most grasses.
Using drip irrigation to water your flowerbeds and vegetable gardens saves water by allowing you to add water at or near plant root zones, where the plants need it.
Don’t water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Up to 30 percent of the water sprayed on lawns during the heat of the day can be lost to evaporation. It’s much cooler to water when it’s cooler.

Water provides value

Although this thought doesn’t fit in with water savings, it is something that many people don’t think about – until there’s a crisis: Water provides value: public health protection, fire protection. It’s crucial to economic growth and ensures quality of life.

The water infrastructure assets you see (water towers, treatment plants, fire hydrants, etc.) and don’t see (underground transmission and distribution lines/pipes, sanitary sewer lines, etc.) are valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. Thousands of miles of underground pipes, ranging from 1″ to over 90″ lines, are used every day to reliably deliver safe drinking water when you need it. And that’s pretty awesome.