Run from water waste with good habits

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.

Indoors:

  • 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

Outside:

  • 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.

How can you help conserve water in dry times?

Say yes to more and say yes to less!

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. Our St Augustine grass won’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 enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov 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.

For questions about water use, visit our Water Conservation webpage.

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 

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. 

Drought Update: regional drought likely, keep conserving water

Let me guess, you probably had a coat on hand before winter arrived, a spare tire in the trunk in case of a flat, and a flashlight around the house should the power go out. The concept couldn’t be simpler: be prepared, save yourself some trouble. This simple logic is even more critical when it comes to our life-sustaining resources, like clean water.  

The ready availability of clean water hinges on a number of factors. Some we can control. Unfortunately, some we can’t, like the weather. We are at the mercy of precipitation to recharge our surface and groundwaters. When precipitation wanes for an extended period – drought – the accessibility of our water supply wanes, too. The longer and more severe the drought, the harder and more expensive it is to meet our water demands.  

Despite above-average rainfall in December, Montgomery County was in abnormally dry status at year’s end. Weather experts project drought status for the entire state through the summer.  

In December 2020, Montgomery county transitioned from moderate drought to abnormally dry. Click here  for the most recent drought report from the Texas Water Development Board. 

The Texas Water Development Board oversees planning for water needs by region. Their Region H 2021 Water Plan projects future water needs for The Woodlands and surrounding areas. To meet the needs of this fast-growing region, the plan relies heavily on conservation – an 18% reduction in the current demand rate. If conservation goals aren’t met, droughts will require more severe water restrictions – an uncomfortable, inconvenient and expensive step best avoided.  

Most of your neighbors are thinking ahead by conserving now. Are you?   

  • Fix leaks inside and out: sprinkler heads, hose connects, and toilets are likely culprits. A running toilet can leak 26 gallons a day! 
  • Put the right amount of water on your lawn. Our St. Augustine lawns only require an inch a week, including rainfall.   
  • Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. One aerator takes only a minute to install and can save 3,000 gallons a year!  
  • Put water only where it’s needed. Check your sprinkler heads regularly to ensure they aren’t spraying your driveway and street.  

Will these measures really make a difference? Yes! An average home uses 120,000 gallons of water a year. In fact, you can meet the 18% conservation goal simply by adopting three simple actions: 

  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth = 4,000 gallons/yr.  
  • Use an efficient dishwasher vs hand washing = 6,000 gallons/yr. 
  • Fix your leaks (toilets, faucets, appliances) = 7,500 gallons/yr.  

Drought will intensify the pressure on our already strained water supply. Plan ahead and conserve now.  Will you join your neighbors in doing your part? 


Questions or comments? Email enviro@thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov


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