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.
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 itenters the storm drains.
Audit your outdoor water use
Watchthis short video and learn how you can quickly audit your irrigation system
Contact Woodlands Water W.I.S.E. Guys for a free irrigation system evaluation
Consider all you can accomplish through one simple pledge. The annual Water Wise Village Challenge reminds residents about the many benefits of not watering your grass during winter. By pledging, you’ll not only have a healthier lawn, you’ll save water and help your village earn education funds, too!
Lawn care experts, such as Texas A&M AgriLife’s Turf Specialists, stress that watering during winter (when St Augustine grass goes dormant) and overwatering in general, weakens a lawn’s root system. Weak roots are a siren call for chinch bugs, sod web worms and other damaging insects, disease such as brown patch, and a host of weeds. Protect your lawn’s health by avoiding winter irrigation and limiting warm weather irrigation to one inch a week.
Now consider the water savings. Turning off your sprinklers from October through March will save an average of 20,000 gallons of water. When 500 homes pledge, 10 million gallons are saved! And a lot of money, too.
The villages with the most pledges receive a cash donation from challenge partners, Woodlands Water Agency, Alspaugh’s Ace Hardware and The Woodlands GREEN. Those funds go directly to local youth education.
Thousands of residents across The Woodlands have taken the pledge, and more than half heard about it from a friend. So, spread the word and help your village come out on top.
Make your lawn the envy of the neighborhood by supporting education while saving water. Take the first step now and make the pledge.
It’s so easy to pledge. Do it every year, and ask a neighbor to sign up, too!
According to AgriLife Extension Turfgrass Specialists, Water Wise Texas Home Lawns should rely on:
Watering less frequently – no more than twice a week, but watering deeply to improve drought tolerance
Using a Cycle and Soak method for best soil/water infiltration (water in small amounts over several hours instead of all at once, which results in runoff and water waste)
Turning irrigation off when grass is dormant during the fall and winter.
Simplify your life by receiving weekly email recommendations on watering from Woodlands Water Agency. Sign up by looking for “Receive Updates” at www.woodlandswater.org and entering your email address. The information is available even if you are not a Woodlands Water customer.
Let’s shine some light on the link between water and energy. The fact is, they’re inseparable. It takes a LOT of energy to capture, treat and deliver water, and 90% of all electricity generation is water intensive. Both of these critical resources are in need of conservation as our local, national and global populations grow. Fortunately, conserving one helps us conserve the other.
Let’s take a deeper dive into this critical relationship…
Energy can’t happen without water:
15% of all global water withdrawals are for energy production.
In the U.S., freshwater sources provide 40% of the water for power generation.
Freshwater availability varies with weather and climate and is coming under ever-increasing pressure from development.
Water can’t get to our faucets without energy:
Drinking water and wastewater systems account for 3–4% of all energy use in the United States.
Electricity accounts for 25–40% of the operating cost of a wastewater utility and approximately 80% of drinking water processing and distribution costs.
This intertwined relationship increases the vulnerability of each; what threatens one, threatens both. We’re all aware of the current drought issues in the western U.S.. We see the images of fires, dried lakes and desiccated crops. Less publicized but equally critical are the constraints being placed on power plants throughout the region. It wasn’t that long ago, 2011-2013, that we experienced similar conditions in our region and they are sure to happen again. Our extreme storms pose another threat to the water-energy nexus, only in reverse. Storm-related power outages place great stress on water facilities, especially treatment facilities. In 2017, Hurricane Harvey left hundreds of communities in southeast Texas without safe drinking water. In total, 45 water systems shut down and 171 areas issued boil water notices. Thankfully, The Woodlands avoided that problem. Let’s hope we’re that lucky next time.
These are large-scale issues that may seem out of our control. Fortunately, they aren’t. The individual actions you and I take each day make a difference. More good news, most water and energy saving actions are simple and easy to do. And they save money, too! Essentially, we get paid to do the right thing.
Make a commitment today to take action and you’ll save water AND energy at the same time.
What a Bright Idea
Are there still incandescent bulbs burning in your home? If so, change them over to LED bulbs. They last longer, burn cooler and use a lot less energy. Here’s a great offer: Stop by the Environmental Services office and ask for a free LED Nightlight, or bring in a burned out incandescent bulb and we’ll give you a 75w equivalent LED light bulb to get you started in transitioning to “water saving” lighting (while supplies last). NO BROKEN BULBS please!
What a turnout for our two-part seminar on Saturday! Our presenters provided some great resources for residents to save water, support pollinators and be better environmental stewards. You can find these below.
Please don’t hesitate to contact Bob or Lauren with questions or let them know if you enjoyed their presentation by taking this 3-minute survey.
Bob Dailey guided residents through using the WaterSmart Customer Portal. This website allows customers of the Woodlands Water Agency to view their water usage and bill, identify potential leaks, set notifications for excess use and get alerts about freezes or other weather events that may impact your water use. An app is in development and until it’s ready, the WaterSmart Customer Portal can be easily viewed on your phone, desktop or tablet.
Quick links for Woodlands Water Agency water-saving resources:
Keep your irrigation system running smoothly with a free evaluation from W.I.S.E. Guys
Lauren has spent her spare time transforming her Houston home gardens into a pollinator-friendly habitat that is beautiful, beneficial to local wildlife AND blends well with her suburban neighborhood. In this presentation, Lauren shared easy steps for creating a pollinator paradise at home that your family can enjoy and will please your neighbors too!
Lauren highlighted the following invasive plants commonly found in our landscapes and encouraged all of us to remove and replace with natives when creating your pollinator paradise.
Nandina (heavenly bamboo)
Texasinvasives.org offers a wealth of helpful information on invasive species in our state and region. Learn how to identify key invasives in our area and take action today.
Missed the presentation? View the recorded seminar on our YouTube channel.
After you’ve created your pollinator paradise, be sure to register your garden. The annual Plant for Pollinators Village Challenge kicks off June 1, 2021. Register your garden before December 1, 2021 and support your Village Association Scholarship Fund. For more details and to register, visit the Plant for Pollinators webpage.
Questions or comments?
Want the latest articles delivered right to your inbox?
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.