Everyone can play a role in ensuring the continued availability of our water supply. There are many ways to conserve water in your home, business, and community.
What It Means To Conserve
Conservation is the ongoing practice of reducing water use wherever possible so that it's available in the future. This differs from Drought Response or Drought Planning, which identifies opportunities to reduce use in the short term in response to a Drought Stage or other emergency condition.
Why Should Everyone Conserve?
Even though the earth is covered in water, according to the United States Geological Study, less than 1% is accessible freshwater that can be used for drinking. Since there's so little for everyone to share, we must work to conserve our precious resources now and in the future. After all, the water we have is all the water we will ever have.
Ways To Conserve
There are many ways to conserve water in your home, business, and community. An easy way to think about it is to consider how to save water inside and outside your home. In our community, 60-70% of water goes toward lawn watering and other outdoor uses. Installing drought and heat-tolerant plants, opting for landscape materials native to the Hill Country, and reducing grass in non-recreational parts of your home greatly reduces the water demand. Having your irrigation system audited for leaks and efficiency regularly is also key to ensuring you are not wasting water through leaks or damaged sprinkler heads.
Outdoor Conservation Tips
Install Conservation-Friendly Landscapes
- Use plants that are easily sustained in the Texas Hill Country environment
Many colorful, easily managed trees, shrubs, flowers, and grasses are well suited to the Texas Hill Country. If you are looking for ideas, check out the Plant List and the accompanying Hardscape List.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it
Overwatering the lawn is a common wasteful practice. Step on your lawn; if the grass springs back up when you remove the pressure, it doesn’t need watering.
- Water during the cool part of the day
Any place of business with a ¾” or larger water meter: volume charge based upon the previous month’s water consumption for each connection.
- Set your irrigation schedule for the season and your local conditions
Watering times will vary by season, climate, soil, and plant type.
- Replace sprinklers with drip irrigation when possible
Use drip irrigation for trees, shrubs, and flowerbeds. Drip systems use less water and direct water where the plant requires it.
- Check your irrigation system often for broken sprinkler heads and irrigation tubing.
Broken sprinkler heads wastewater and can potentially damage your landscape. Check sprinkler heads, drip system emitters, and lines for breaks and cracks.
- Install shut‐off nozzles on all garden hoses
Make sure your garden hose has an automatic shut‐off.
- Don’t water the pavement.
When your irrigation system is on, position sprinkler heads to water lawns and gardens, not the pavement surrounding your landscape. Tune sprinkler heads so that the radius of the spray is appropriate for the application. To minimize runoff, try to keep a planted buffer between the lawn and the sidewalk.
- Avoid runoff on slopes.
Try to avoid planting on slopes (especially lawns). If your lawn or garden is already on a slope, you can reduce your watering times, so that excess water does not run off. Create basins around plants to catch water and prevent runoff.
- Don’t let the water run while washing the car
Clean the car with a bucket of soapy water; use the hose only to rinse it off.
- Use a pool cover
Pool covers will prevent evaporation and decrease heat loss, saving water and energy.
- Replace your swimming pool filter
Sand and Diatomaceous Earth (DE) pool filters require backwashing. You can save up to 20,000 gallons a year by replacing these filters with a cartridge filter.
Indoor Conservation Tips
There are many ways to conserve indoor water. Here are a few guidelines to make your home more water-efficient:
In the Kitchen/Laundry Room
- Equip faucets with aerators
Installing aerators on kitchen and bathroom sinks can reduce indoor water use up to 4%.
- Operate your clothes washer and dishwasher with full loads only
By waiting until you have a full load of laundry or dishes, you’ll save on water and energy costs.
- Don’t leave the water running if you hand wash dishes
Fill the sink or a pail to wash and rinse dishes.
- Replace your clothes washer - the second-highest water user indoors
New high‐efficiency clothes washers can reduce water and energy use up to 40%.
In the Bathroom
- Fix toilet leaks
Toilet leaks are easy to identify and fix. Check that the water level in your toilet tank is not above the overflow tube; the water level should be about an inch below the top of the tube. Also, check your toilet flapper for proper seating and wear. Over time, the flapper in your toilet tank becomes worn and does not work effectively to stop leaks into the toilet bowl. To test for a toilet leak, place a few drops of food coloring or a toilet dye tablet in your tank; wait a few minutes. If the color appears in the bowl, you likely leak. Accessible toilet dye tablets are available at the Business Office.
- Replace your old toilet - the highest water user indoors
If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, you probably have an inefficient model that uses 3.5 gallons per flush or more. Consider replacing it with a new and improved high‐efficiency toilet. These new models use 1.3 gallons per flush or less.
- Shower instead of using the bathtub and take shorter showers
A full bathtub can use 25‐70 gallons of water while taking a five‐minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons. If you take a bath, stopper the drain immediately and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub.
- Install low‐flow showerheads
Replace older showerheads with new efficient models that use 2.5 gallons per minute or less. Older models can use up to 7 gallons of water per minute and can waste thousands of gallons per month.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving
Remember that a typical faucet uses 2 gallons per minute.
Helpful Conservation Links
Here are some links to sites with more information to help you conserve water: