A majority of water use during the summer happens outdoors, according to the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD).
Public Education Manager Helen Dulac said anywhere from 40%-60% of water usage during the summer is used for watering lawns, adding about half of it is wasted because of overwatering, inefficient watering or broken irrigation systems.
The additional strain during the summer months is on top of what residents use in the kitchen and home bathroom.
One factor to consider with pools is evaporation, said Dulac, but there are pool covers available to help mitigate lost water because of evaporation. Some cities also allow residents to receive rebates or discounts on their water bill if they have a pool cover.
Additionally, residents should be mindful of how frequently they water their lawns, said Dulac. They can use services such as Water My Yard, an online service that helps homeowners know how much water they need and how frequently they need to water their lawns.
Interested residents can visit the Water My Yard website by going to watermyyard.org. Residents can also sign up through the NTMWD or their water provider, if available.
“With a sprinkler system, it’s easy to set it and forget it,” Dulac said. “It could run right after it rains or more than once a week.”
In 2021, Water My Yard recommended not watering a lawn 35 weeks out of the year, said Dulac. By not watering a lawn, that water can be conserved and used elsewhere.
“We need to have water for hospitals and firefighting,” Dulac said. “The water we drink is the same water a surgeon uses to wash their hands before a procedure.”
Residents should also refrain from watering their lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. because of evaporation caused by the heat.
Another factor to consider is the population growth in Collin County, said Dulac, with NTMWD expecting the population to double by 2070. That means more water usage and an increased need to conserve water.
Dulac said newcomers to the area do not bring water with them but the NTMWD is planning ahead when it comes to making sure the water supply can handle future demand.
“Our goal is to ensure we have water today and tomorrow and we can meet the needs of the cities we serve,” Dulac said. “We do that through Long Range Water Supply Planning, promoting water conservation and innovative practices like letting some of our member cities use treated wastewater, that is cleaned to near drinking water standards, to water medians and golf courses.”
Residents should also not be afraid to be water conservation leaders in their neighborhoods, said Dulac, by installing rain barrels or a drip irrigation system. Native plants also help, added Dulac, because they can survive in the heat with less water.
To help provide that water, the NTWMD has commenced filling the first reservoir in Texas built in the past 30 years. Bois d’Arc Lake – bolstered by recent heavy rainfall in North Texas – continues to fill up and the water district hopes to welcome recreational users in the future.
The lake eventually will cover roughly 16,400 acres in Fannin County and will provide water for the region that includes Collin County communities such as Farmersville.
The lake continues to fill up, but NTMWD Director of Communications Wayne Larson said it won’t be ready for recreational use until it is deemed “safe enough” for boaters. The lake’s current level is about 20 feet short of the “safe” level required, Larson explained.
For more information on conservation efforts, residents can visit waterisawesome.com, NTMWD’s conservation campaign with the city of Dallas Water Utilities and Tarrant Regional Water District.
They can also go to ntmwd.com.
John Kanelis contributed to this report.
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