It’s never too late to save water and get your lawn healthy! And those are only two of the benefits of participating in the annual Water Wise Village Challenge.
Each year The Woodlands Township Environmental Services Department challenges residents to stop watering their lawn from mid-October through mid-April. Our St. Augustine yards need to go dormant this time of year in order to develop their root systems; it helps them fight off disease and pests the rest of the year. Irrigating during the cool months prevents this.
Saving water is a big win. Additionally, when residents pledge, their village gets a point in the competition for scholarship funds. Regardless of which villages win, you can’t lose. Take the pledge, save money, save water and have a healthier lawn. There is no downside for this challenge when you promise not to water turfgrass. How about pledging right now before you forget? You can make your pledge online in just about two minutes HERE. Watch for the results to be announced in May.
When well managed, your yard provides important ecological benefits such as reducing runoff, providing habitat and filtering stormwater. It’s easier than you may think. This FREE program will show you how.
You’ll learn about:
The most efficient irrigation methods, plus drip irrigation, smart controllers and sensors
Using captured rainwater for landscape irrigation
Achieving a greener lawn by improving soil health and reducing chemicals
Native plants that thrive with less water
Water efficient turf and native grasses adapted to our climate
Today’s online programming focuses on simple ways to reduce water in your lawn and garden. We begin with checking our irrigations systems for leaks and efficiency. Whether you use sprinklers, drip irrigation or a combination it’s important that plants are receiving the right amount of water, when and where they need it.
Water You Doing? Water Efficient Sprinklers
Many homeowners have a sprinkler system, but do you know how to fix a leak, avoid runoff and reduce your water bill? It may be time for a sprinkler spruce up or a sprinkler upgrade. This video reviews the latest technology for lawn irrigation to help keep your plants healthy while saving water, money and time.
DIY Drip Irrigation
Make every drop count! Whether you have an existing sprinkler system or just an outdoor faucet, learn how to install, convert and maintain a drip irrigation system. Drip irrigation is the most efficient irrigation method for landscape beds and vegetable gardens. This video shows how easy “do it yourself” drip irrigation really is!
Keeping Storm Drains Clean
Did you know that fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals that you apply to your lawn are likely to wash away into nearby storm drains? Not only is it important to conserve water when caring for your lawn and garden, but to keep in mind how our lawn care practices affects local waterways.
Check out these videos from Woodlands Water Agency
Storm Drain Waste
Storm Water Contaminants
For the Kids
Everyone can help save water! Enjoy watching these videos with the younger members of your household.
Conserve Water with Aqua
A short, animated video that follows 8-year old Aqua as she learns about what it means to conserve water. Along with her dog, Sparky, Aqua learns simple ways to reduce water use and shows her family how easy it is to save water and money.
Want the big picture on water? We can all learn something from Kamal Balaa, a very smart kid with a real grasp on using water wisely. In this Tedx video, Kamal shares the importance of water conservation and the many changes he’s made to save water. This video will inspire all ages to take action and change the world!
The annual Water Wise Village Challenge is about more than conserving water. When you pledge to turn off your sprinkler system for the winter (from October 15 to April 15), a lot of good things happen.
More and more residents are finding their lawns are healthier than ever when they avoid overwatering and when they stop watering altogether in the winter. They’re saving money, too. Healthy lawns need fewer chemicals and they better withstand pests and disease. Remember Kevin? He said he hadn’t turned on his sprinkler system in over a year and his yard looked great! He simply follows the weekly watering recommendation he receives by email from Woodlands Water Agency and sets out a manual sprinkler when needed. A hose-end spray nozzle for his flowerbeds does the rest.
As the Challenge has grown, water savings in our community have grown with it. In 2019, the Challenge saved 11,600,000 gallons. That equals the amount of water that flows through the San Jacinto River in ten days. That’s a lot of water!
Your Water Wise Village Challenge pledge not only serves your lawn and your pocketbook, it provides assistance to area college-bound students. The three villages with the greatest number of pledges receive cash donations for their scholarship funds. What a great way to demonstrate to our youth that natural resources are precious, and conservation is our gift to them.
So, let’s see… 1. Water savings, 2. Healthier lawns, 3. Scholarship funds, 4. Support our community’s conservation ethic, 5. Fill in this blank with your own reason for becoming a water hero in your neighborhood!
Pledge now, pledge every year, and be “that person” on your street who sets the standard for others. Join the movement and live in harmony with nature in The Woodlands Township and take the pledge for 2020-2021.
What’s pet waste have to do with wading in Spring Creek? Let’s break it down: Based on national averages, our community dog population produces about 55,000 pounds of waste per day*. Most of us are diligent about picking up after our pets, but not all. Too many feel someone else will clean it up – maybe the pet waste fairy.
When dog waste is left behind, the bacteria it contains is washed into the nearest storm drain during rains, flowing to the closest waterway. It empties unfiltered and untreated into our community streams, creating a health hazard for humans enjoying water-based recreation.
The contaminated water continues to the next stream, river or lake all the way to the coast and the Gulf of Mexico, adding bacteria along the way as it runs through more urban areas. Houston-Galveston Area Council’s 2020 Basin Report indicates that almost 65 percent of Spring Creek is listed as impaired because of high bacteria levels. The primary source is dog waste.
According to the Report, in the Houston-Galveston region one of the most significant water quality issues faced is elevated levels of bacteria in our local waterways – indicators of the presence of sewage and pathogens such as infectious bacteria, viruses, and protozoans. High bacterial concentrations may cause gastrointestinal illnesses or skin infections in swimmers or others who come into direct contact with the water.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), to comply with the requirements of the Clean Water Act, set the acceptable level of bacteria in waterways as 126 colony forming units (cfu) per deciliter (dL). On average, Spring Creek levels are between 350 and 800 cfu/dL, with the higher numbers during runoff after rainfall. The tributaries within the Township that flow into Spring Creek, Lower Panther Branch Creek, Willow Creek, Bear Branch Creek and Lake Woodlands, are all included on the list of impaired waterways because of bacteria.
Be a responsible pet owner and don’t wait for the pet waste fairy. Picking up after our dogs and keeping our community clean, means water that’s safe for human recreation and for the aquatic organisms that live in it, and better for the environmental health of our community.