Do your kids turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth? It can save about 4 gallons of water! These habits add up – over the course of a week a family can save enough water to fill a regular trash can. Wouldn’t you rather use that water? Give the kids a hug and encourage their pride in being good stewards of a vital natural resource.
Kids seem to do better than adults at maintaining good habits when they understand the benefits and their actions are rewarded with praise. The rest of us may need a sticky note on the ‘fridge! Consider this your sticky note.
At least once a year, check for dripping water. Even a small leak makes a big impact on your water bill. Over time you could be paying for hundreds of gallons of water you aren’t using.
Look at faucets and taps in kitchens and bathrooms
Check under sinks and inside cabinets for wet spots
Remember to check faucets in tubs and shower heads
Inspect clothes- and dishwasher connections that can develop leaks over time
Check spigots and hose ends
Ditto for sprinklers attached to a hose
For automated systems, check sprinkler heads for leaks, one sign is taller or greener grass, another is places where the ground is perpetually wet
Install a rain sensor, if your controller doesn’t have one, to keep sprinklers off when it rains – what a waste that is
Leaks and dripping faucets are easy to ignore but costly. How about checking right now to be sure it’s not happening right under your nose. Good habits prevent wasted water, so thank you for being a good water steward! Here’s a virtual hug for you.
Keeping our water clean, healthy, and available is a full-time job for anyone who uses water. Right now is the best time to assess any gaps in your water-saving activities.
Say YES TO MORE
Start by saying YES TO MORE when you only run the dishwasher when it’s full. Same goes for washing your clothes. YES TO MORE cold water washes that conserve energy while being gentler on clothes. Time to upgrade your washing machine? Select one that is smart enough match the amount of water to the load size.
Say YES TO LESS
Fall is a time for less: less fertilizer on the lawn. OurSt Augustine grasswon’t be able to take up many nutrients, especially nitrogen, once it enters dormancy (mid October – mid April). Adding fertilizer after the first of October won’t help the grass, and it’s more likely those fertilizers will simply run off into waterways during the next rain.
Speaking of rain, does your sprinkler system controller have a rain sensor? The next few months are forecasted to bring strong chances of large rain events. A rain sensor helps you say YES TO LESS irrigation by communicating with your sprinkler system that your lawn has received adequate rainfall and overrides a scheduled watering. Again, your lawn is dormant from mid-October to mid-April and requires not only less fertilizer, but less water too.
Consider yourself a bit of a DIYer? Installing a rain sensor is pretty simple and we’ll help you get started. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Rain Sensor Request.
The first 10 Township residents to email will receive a free rain sensor.
Just provide your home address so we can verify residency. We’ll be in touch with details on where to pick up your rain sensor and help with any troubleshooting.
Ready to say YES TO MORE AND YES TO LESS? Think about other simple ways your actions can reduce water use. Each YES means we have the water we need in the future.
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!