How much water are you using?

It’s time to evaluate your water use both indoors and outdoors.

Did you know that 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day? Taking 10 minutes to check for leaks can not only save water but prevent future water damage within the home.  

Audit your home for leaks 

  • Turn off everything in your home that uses water. 
  • Read your water meter. 
  • Wait 15 minutes, and then read the meter again. Did the numbers change? If so, you may have a leak. 

If you’re a Woodlands Water customer, the recently installed Smart Water Meters allow you to view your bill, monitor water usage, identify potential leaks, get notifications about excess water use or weather events that might impact your water use.  Get started today with the WaterSmart Customer Portal here. 

Possible leak?  

Look around and check that outdoor faucets aren’t dripping. Look under sinks in all bathrooms and kitchen. If you can’t identify the leak, call a professional for help. 


How many inches? 

Lawn watering accounts for over 50% of water usage by Woodlands residents. If you’re watering more to account for our current drought conditions, you might be doing more harm than good. St. Augustine grass needs only one inch of water per week. Any more than that can lead to disease, pests and weakened lawns. Not to mention wasted water running off the lawn and into the street grows mosquitoes when it enters the storm drains.   

Audit your outdoor water use 

Have questions about reducing water use indoors or outdoors? Contact our water conservation specialist at enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov 

Turn your nightmare lawn into a dream 

With less fertilizer, less money, and less work. 

So, your lawn is having a recurring nightmare… you dump on the high-nitrogen fertilizer, thinking more is better. You get an immediate reward of super green grass and pat yourself on the back for your green thumb, BUT then the problems start. Since nitrogen overuse decreases grass’ water-holding capacity, you’ve soon got unhealthy turf and a welcome mat for weeds and disease. Desperate for a remedy, you then crank up the watering. And your nightmare snowballs – our St Augustine lawns suffer when they get more than an inch a week. Now you’re back to the store shelling out more money for more chemicals and paying a higher water bill, too boot.  And the nightmare rolls-on. 

What your lawn dreams of instead is to grow deep roots thereby reducing stress, promoting health and keeping pests and weeds at bay – something it can’t do when over-fertilization and over-watering keeps the top green but the roots shallow. 

So, listen to your lawn: 

  • Apply fertilizer only if you’re sure you need it – have a soil test performed every 2 to 3 years to find out. 
  • Apply fertilizer only when the lawn is actively growing – in the spring after you’ve mowed at least 2 times (and indicator of active growth). 
  • Look for fertilizers with slow-release Nitrogen so your grass can take up a little at a time and the rest won’t be lost through leaching and runoff. Too much nitrogen leads to fertilizer burn, so follow label instructions carefully. In our clay soils, keep to a 1/2 pound per 1000 square feet to prevent Nitrogen leaching. 
  • In our region, avoid fertilizing after mid-October. This allows the grass to fully uptake it before the first freeze occurs. 

Your grass would also like you to know: 

  • St Augustine grass needs 4 to 6 hours of sun every day – if you see thinning growth, it may be getting too little light. 
  • Mow at a height of at least 2 inches, but 4 to 6 inches is better – and only take off a max of 1/3 the height at a time. 
  • Skip the bagging, leave the grass clippings right on the lawn. This provides nutrients your lawn needs. And your back will thank you.
  • Water no more than 1 to 2 times a week for a total of 1 inch per week. This lessens susceptibility to turf grass diseases. 
  • Use cycle and soak methods. Set your timer to water for 10 to 15 minutes, rest for 20, and then water again. Remember, no more than 1 inch a week, total.    
  • Follow the mandated Defined Irrigation Schedule for The Woodlands (2-days per week allowed) and water between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. This reduces water waste from evaporation and supports a healthier lawn. 
  • Turn off irrigation over winter. Our grass naturally goes dormant in the cool months (November through March): leaves turn brown so the roots can concentrate on growing deep and strong. Watering hampers this process, leaving you with a disease and pest-prone lawn in the spring.  

Better yet, turn off your automatic system year-round and operate it manually only when needed. How will you know when to turn it on? It’s easy.

Simply sign up for Weekly Water Recommendation from Woodlands Water Agency. You’ll get an email each week recommending how much to water.  

Stop the nightmares and help your lawn lose the stress and get strong, healthy and lush!  

Resources

Care about water? Become a water specialist!

Get certified this summer! Join the corps of well-informed volunteer specialists who provide education, outreach, and service to keep our local water bodies healthy. This unique certification program, made possible by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department, is offered to both students (grades 9 – 12) and adults.

You can be certified as a Texas Waters Specialist after completing just 8 hours of training based on the Texas Waters curriculum guide. You’ll receive a certificate and an official pin designating you as a certified waters specialist. Then volunteer with The Woodlands Township and other local agencies to educate and work beside your neighbors in protecting local aquatic resources.

The good news: you can attend classes to obtain the needed training hours right here in The Woodlands! The Environmental Services Department has several class dates scheduled through the summer. If you need more information, email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov with the subject line: water specialist inquiry.

Get started today and register as a TPWD volunteer here. For more detailed instructions on how to register, follow along with this document.

To earn your hours through The Woodlands Township, register for an upcoming class here.

Upcoming water lab classes are scheduled for Saturday, July 16 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Saturday, August 20 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Bear Branch Recreation Center.

Benefits of a healthy waterway

“Forested and vegetated waterways provide a multitude of benefits to our air and water quality, flood resilience, our sense of community, and public health” according to Justin Bower, Principal Planner, Community and Environmental Planning, for Houston-Galveston Area Council. He also points out that “everything that happens on the land, including our yards, driveways, roads and open spaces, can wash pollutants and contaminants into our waterways when it rains.” 

Explore the critical benefits of healthy forests, riparian areas (streamside vegetation) and waterways by attending the Smarter About Sustainability Seminar on Saturday, May 14 with Justin Bower. You’ll learn… 

  • How riparian areas are the last line of defense for slowing and filtering stormwater before it reaches the creeks and lakes we depend on.  
  • The direct link between our lawns and landscapes and healthy riparian zones and waterways. 
  • Best landscaping practices for protecting our waters and riparian zones including adding native plants and organic fertilizing.  
  • Opportunities to join community volunteer efforts.  

A body of water with trees around it

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Summer clouds over Bear Branch

We’ll also dive into the damaging effects of invasive species. Ashley Morgan-Olvera, Outreach and Education Director for the Texas Invasive Species Institute at Sam Houston State University, will fill us in on why keeping invasive, and destructive, animals and vegetation out of our community’s forests and stream areas enhances the benefits we gain from these critical ecosystems. Learn how you can make a difference by volunteering with our local Invasives Task Force to help remove invasives from our pathways and public green spaces by attending. 

Smarter About Sustainability Seminar 

Date/Time: Saturday, May 14, 2022 | 9a.m. to noon 

Location: Online 

This is a FREE Seminar. REGISTRATION is required. 

Who plans for Montgomery County’s future water supplies?

We’ve seen the news, we’ve heard the call from the Conroe Economic Development Council , The Woodlands Area Economic Development Partnership, and the East Montgomery County Improvement District, and we can see it with our own eyes—Montgomery County is growing. And fast! In new US Census data, five of the top 10 counties in numeric growth are in Texas, including ours.  

Along with population growth comes a growing water demand.  Additional water supplies will be needed to meet that demand. Most water supply projects have decades-long lead times with local entities making investments years in advance of need. Planning and strategy looks 50-100 years down the road, but we begin acting now to ensure plentiful and cost-effective water long into the future, securing reliable water reserves and creating a strategic plan to manage our most valued resource.  

Water supply planning has been happening in our community for more than 75 years. Created by the Texas Legislature in 1937, the San Jacinto River Authority (SJRA) serves, conserves, and protects the water resources of the San Jacinto River Basin, which includes Montgomery County. One of the many reasons the Texas Legislature created river authorities is to provide a watershed-focused political subdivision with the power to plan for and develop long-term water supplies in partnership with other local political entities, who often do not have the authority or resources to implement plans on their own.  

SJRA considers numerous stakeholders and partners in its ongoing water supply planning efforts including public and private utilities, cities and counties, Municipal Utility Districts (MUD), industry, agriculture, non-governmental organizations, and chambers.  

SJRA planning also includes diversification of water sources.  Utilizing water wells for groundwater, treating and transporting water from Lake Conroe to partners in Montgomery County, and looking for additional strategies are all needed to accommodate the county’s growth.  But, keeping up with growth in a responsible way takes all of us. Find out how you can do your part to preserve and conserve our most valued resource now and long into the future at The Best Water in Texas.