Winter Water Conservation Tips

Water conservation is always important in Texas; however, many of us only think about conservation in the heat of summer or in times of drought. Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District would like to emphasize the importance of year around water conservation. The following winter water conservation tips may not only help you conserve water, they may actually help you save some of those hard-earned dollars.

  • The weather is cooler now and regular watering is not needed. Turn off the automatic controller and water manually when needed.

  • Put a soil probe (or your shovel) into the soil 6 inches to see if it’s wet or dry. If wet, don’t water. If dry, water only enough to wet the root zone.

  • Check the sprinkler heads at least once a month to make sure they are not broken and watering the landscape, sidewalks, driveways, and streets.

  • Winterize outdoor spigots to avoid pipes bursting from freezing. Wrap them or get those handy covers from your local hardware store. Broken pipes waste water and may be a costly repair.

  • Indoor plumbing can be protected from freezing by leaving cabinet doors under sinks open. If you are going to be away from home, leave the home heating system on at a low setting to prevent indoor pipes from freezing.

  • Locate the master water shut off valve in your home and mark it for quick identification. If a water pipe were to burst, it could cause flooding and property damage, not to mention immense water waste, if the valve were left open.

  • Avoid using the toilet as a trash can for those winter cold tissues.

  • Aerate your lawn to encourage deep root growth so that your lawn will require less frequent watering during hot spells next summer.

  • Compost leaves and other garden debris to create healthy mulch for spring. Adding compost or mulch to your soil will help hold water in and minimize evaporation by keeping the soil covered and cool.

  • Avoid over-seeding your lawn with winter grass. Bermuda grasses are dormant (brown) in the winter and will only require water every three to four weeks.

  • Insulate hot water pipes so you don’t have to run as much water to get hot water to the faucet.

If you have additional winter water conservation tips, please contact MTGCD at 254-965-6705 or by email mtgcd1@centurylink.net. We would love to add your ideas to our list of tips!

Water Supply Enhancement Program - Brush Control

“The trouble with water — and there is trouble with water — is that they’re not making any more of it.” Marq de Villier Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource

Scarcity and competition for water have made sound water planning and management increasingly important. The demand for water in Texas is expected to increase by about 22%, to a demand of nearly 22M ac‐ft in 2060; while existing water supplies are projected to decrease by about 10%, to just over 15M ac‐ft. With Texas’ population expected to grow by 82% in the next 50 years, the availability of water supplies is essential for not only the Texans of today but also for those of tomorrow (2012 State Water Plan, Texas Water Development Board).

Noxious brush, detrimental to water conservation, has invaded millions of acres of rangeland and riparian areas in Texas, reducing or eliminating stream flow and aquifer recharge through interception of rainfall and increased evapotranspiration. Brush control has the potential to enhance water yield, conserve water lost to evapotranspiration, recharge groundwater and aquifers, enhance spring and stream flows, improve soil health, restore native wildlife habitat by improving rangeland, improve livestock grazing distribution, protect water quality and reduce soil erosion, aid in wildfire suppression by reducing hazardous fuels, and manage invasive species.

In order to help meet the State’s critical water conservation needs and ensure availability of public water supplies, in 2011 the 82nd Texas Legislature established the Water Supply Enhancement Program (WSEP) administered by the TSSWCB, with the purpose of increasing available surface and ground water through the targeted control of brush species that are detrimental to water conservation (e.g., juniper, mesquite, salt cedar).

Water Supply Enhancement Program Office

(325) 481-0335

Information retrieved from: https://www.tsswcb.texas.gov/programs/water-supply-enhancement-program

Program Fact Sheet: https://www.tsswcb.texas.gov/sites/default/files/files/programs/water-supply-enhancement/WSEP_FS_20161014-2018.pdf

Aquifer Recharge Enhancement

AQUIFER RECHARGE ENHANCEMENT

The hydrologic cycle has a major impact on groundwater storage, Precipitation and surface water slowly move below the ground until they are intercepted by plant roots or stopped by an impervious layer of material such as clay or shale. This process of downward migration is called groundwater recharge or percolation. Groundwater recharge is an important natural process for replenishing groundwater supplies. In some areas of the world, however, drought and overuse of groundwater for urban and rural uses have led to alarming declines. Coupled with these conditions is ongoing urban sprawl, which effectively seals potential recharge zones with paved streets, sidewalks and rooftops. Reduced recharge rates in developed areas can cause downstream flooding problems as a result of increased surface runoff. Preservation of wetlands along streams, stormwater retention ponds, and open space such as parks, golf courses, and wildlife areas can help preserve groundwater recharge zones.

In the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, the Trinity Aquifer recharges through its outcrop areas. Due to excellent aquifer characteristics, the recharge that occurs in Comanche and Erath counties contributes largely to the availability of Trinity Groundwater throughout the rest of the District.

Groundwater movement in the Trinity Aquifer is from points of recharge in aquifer outcrop areas to points of discharge. In aquifer outcrops, groundwater movement is primarily downdip towards points of discharge, either along creeks, rivers or streams or areas of significant groundwater production and withdrawal.

Information on the geologic units and their water bearing properties within Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District is available in the District’s Management Plan located on the District’s website at www.middletrinitygcd.org.

For more information visit: TSSWCB Water Supply Enhancement Program

Rainwater Harvesting

When we think of the water we use, our minds are automatically wired to think of the tap, but what if we rewired our thinking to nature’s source of water?  Rainwater harvesting is one way we can utilize a natural source of water without impacting the environment in a negative way.  Although this water catchment method has been around for hundreds of years, it is just recently started to regain interest in the world of conservation.  Our ancestors relied on water catchment systems to survive, so why wouldn’t we want to implement them into our own lives?

Why are people interested in rainwater harvesting?
The benefits of using rainwater in and around your home are endless.  From a conservation perspective, rainwater harvesting reduces the demand on the existing water supply, run-off, erosion, and possible contamination of surface water.  One of the most common uses for rainwater is landscape irrigation due to plant benefits and ease of use.  The stored water can be used without pumps and other complicated watering systems, not to mention the numerous plant benefits.  30-50% or more of the total water used in communities around Texas is used for landscape irrigation.

Why is rainwater better for plants? 

Well for starters it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth.  As the water percolates into the soil the salts are forced down away from root zones.  This allows for better growth and enables the plants to become more drought tolerant.  This is an excellent resource for more information regarding landscape water conservation practices https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/

In-home use of rainwater can be beneficial in many ways.  Rainwater has absolutely zero hardness.  Your dishwasher and washing machine will thank you!  Less soap is needed for all applications.  Pipes, faucets, tiles, glassware, and even your hair will have less calcium build up. Rainwater can be easily made potable without any use of chemicals.  Suffering from high water bills?  Collecting the water from your roof...essentially free.  Who doesn’t want to save a little cash?

All in all, the strain on our groundwater resources is on the rise.  On average Americans use    100 -150 gallons each day.  If we calculate those numbers for a family of four, the average use is 400 - 600 gallons.  Only 1% of the Earth’s water is even usable and you guessed it!  That 1% is groundwater.  Any methods that can be utilized to aid in the reduction of groundwater use will be beneficial in conserving the water for the future.  To calculate the approximate collection total for your home check out this site https://www.watercache.com/resources/rainwater-collection-calculator.

Did you know?

●     Approximately 550 gallons of rainwater can be collected for every 1,000 sq. ft. of collection surface per inch of rain.

●     Texas Tax Code 151.355 allows for a state sales tax exemption on rainwater harvesting equipment.

●     Texas Property Code 202.007 prevents homeowners associations from banning rainwater harvesting installations.

●     Most water used is for non-drinking.

  • An average 25 X 40ft. Roof sheds about 600 gallons of water in 1 hour of moderate rainfall, enough to fill over 15 bathtubs.