Three Things to Do Now So You Can Save Water This Summer
Large sections of Texas are recovering from exceptional or extreme drought and, currently, about 25 percent of the state is experiencing some level of drought. These conditions are likely to get worse as summer approaches. Here are three things you can do now to help prepare for the summer.
Install and Maintain Rain Barrels
Now is a great time to install or perform routine maintenance on rain barrels. Rain barrels help conserve water by harvesting rain, which can be used instead of municipal or well water. Also, rainwater is better for your plants because it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth.
Install a Rain Barrel
Check out the TCEQ’s video, Building a Rain Barrel. Also, check out their brief guide Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels.
Keep Your Rain Barrel Working Properly
Proper maintenance will help keep your rain barrels free of leaks, clogs, and mosquitoes. Check out the TCEQ blog for a suggested maintenance schedule.
Use Mulch to Save Water
Mulch is a chemical-free, protective ground covering, which saves water and money by conserving the soil’s moisture. It also inhibits weed growth, prevents erosion, and moderates soil temperature.
City of Georgetown curbside-collected yard trimmings are brought to the City’s Collection Station where it is ground into mulch which is free to all Georgetown Utility customers living inside the city limits. Limit one free cubic yard of mulch per account, per month.
Currently while supply lasts, we are offering this great mulch to outside city limit customers who have Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) garbage service. Customers must have TDS garbage service in order to receive one yard of mulch free.
Water the ground thoroughly before and after applying mulch. Put a layer of mulch around trees and shrubs, but avoid piling it against the trunks and stems as this will cause disease and pest infestation. After settling, the mulch layer should be 4 inches deep around trees and 2 inches deep around shrubs. Check out the TCEQ helpful guide, Mulching and Composting, for more information.
Update Your Sprinkler System’s Controller
Billions of gallons of water are wasted every day from inefficient landscape watering. Newer, more efficient irrigation-control technologies use local weather and landscape conditions to tailor watering schedules to the conditions in your yard. For example, a rain and freeze sensor automatically shuts off your irrigation system during rain or freezing temperatures. The TCEQ has a Landscape Irrigation guide which has additional information on watering efficiently.
Want more landscaping ideas? Check out the TCEQ landscape publications, which have great information about environmentally friendly yard care.
Water Conservation Information
To read the new water conservation plan, click: City of Georgetown Water Conservation Plan 2014
To view the current water conservation ordinance, click: Water Conservation Ordinance 2014
To view the preferred, controlled, and prohibited plant lists, click: Preferred Plant Lists
To read about current watering restrictions and FAQs about the restrictions, visit our Water Department overview page (click here).
Current Drought Conditions
*Lake & Aquifer levels measured in feet above sea level. Demand is in MGD (Millions of Gallons/Day)
Water Saving Tips
Here are some great tips to not only help you conserve water, but also reduce your utility bills!
- Water only when needed. Watch your lawn for signs of stress. If the St. Augustine blades of grass “roll”, if the Bermuda gets a bluish cast or if you leave foot prints on the grass after walking on it, your lawn needs water.
- Do not overwater. Watering only ½ to 1 inch per week during the summer may not keep turfgrasses dark green, but should keep them healthy.
- Water early in the morning. This is when evaporation rates are at their lowest, there is little wind, and water pressure is at its best.
- Do not waste water. Be sure that your irrigation system does not water sidewalks, driveways, or the street. Install a rain/freeze sensor or make sure the one you already have is working correctly, and repair broken or leaky heads.
- Avoid excessive evaporation. Use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water rather than a fine mist.
- Use drip-irrigation and/or bubblers. Using these type systems for bedded plants, trees, and shrubs, will help prevent evaporation.
- Cover pools. Pool covers will save up to 90% of the water lost to evaporation.
- Sweep instead of washing. Use a broom on sidewalks, driveways, and patios instead of a water hose.
- Harvest the rain. Buy a rain barrel and collect precipitation for watering your plants.
In the Bathroom
- Install a low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators to reduce water consumption.
- Take short showers and install a cut-off valve, or turn the water off while washing and back on again to rinse.
- Take showers instead of baths, but if a shower is not available fill the tub with less water.
- Replace old toilets with high-efficiency toilets.
- Test toilets for leaks and repair promptly if one is found.
- Never use the toilet as a trashcan.
- Do not use hot water when cold will do.
- Do not let water run when brushing teeth, shaving, or washing hands.
- If letting water run to heat up, catch cold water in a bowl for pet water or plants rather than letting it run down the drain.
In the Kitchen
- Scrape the dishes clean instead of rinsing them before washing.
- Use a pan of water (or place a stopper in the sink) for washing and rinsing dishes. No need to pre-rinse.
- Never run the dishwasher without a full load.
- Start a compost pile rather than running the garbage disposal and never pour grease or oil down the drain.
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water from the tap until it is cool is wasteful.
- Use a small bowl of cold water to clean vegetables rather than letting the water run over them.
In the Laundry
- Consider buying a high-efficiency washer when time to replace your old model.
- Wash only full loads of clothes.
- Use cold water as often as possible.