Water conservation and reuse are critical ways the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) manages the finite water supply.
Conservation is the practice of using water efficiently to reduce waste and helps extend water supplies during the frequent Texas droughts. It is also essential to meet future water demands.
Water is used in various ways, from irrigating lawns and landscapes to washing clothes and dishes.
Conservation does not mean eliminating water use completely but instead using it sensibly.
NTMWD is counting on conservation as the source for nearly one-quarter of future water supplies and offers several tips to conserve water and, as a result, save money.
To save water outdoors, NTMWD recommends residents sign up for an account at watermyyard.org for recommendations on when and how much to water lawns.
They also recommend watering before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. to minimize evaporation.
Another tip is to run sprinklers in short cycles and wait 30-45 minutes in between to allow the grass to absorb water and reduce runoff.
According to American Rivers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving waterways, 30% to 60% of domestic drinking water is used to water yards and gardens, and large portions are wasted because of over-watering, evaporation and misdirected sprinklers.
Residents should regularly check the irritation heads on sprinkler systems to ensure they water the lawn instead of the driveway, sidewalk or street.
To reduce plant stress, NTMWD recommends raising lawn mower blade height during the summer to avoid cutting more than one-third of the leaf blade.
Residents should also check to ensure outside spigots, pipes and hoses are leak-free and repair or replace them as needed. A leak with one drop per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water annually.
Gardeners are urged to plant native and adapted plant species such as red yucca or Texas sage to reduce landscaping water requirements.
Indoor water conservation efforts include installing low-flow toilets, showerheads and faucets throughout the home.
Residents should wash dishes in the dishwasher and avoid pre-rinsing by hand. Dishwashers and washing machines should only be run when they are full.
Other tips include installing a shower timer to shorten shower lengths and turning off the water while shaving or brushing teeth and turning it back on when needed.
NTMWD is offering several free virtual seminars on summer lawn care, such as efficient irrigation, on its website.