For the week of August 19, 2019:
Based on the evaporation-transpiration and rain data collected by the Lone Star GCD Weather Station Network, it is recommended that the total amount of water applied to your lawn over the next seven (7) days not exceed the amounts listed for the following areas:
NOTE: Hot weather and long days does not mean that we just turn on the sprinkler system and let ‘em go. We have been blessed with timely rains over all of Montgomery County throughout a good portion of the year. There was little if any need to water our yards during the entire spring. On the occasions that that trend repeats itself, we won’t be needing to provide extra water. That’s the purpose of our Weekly Watering Recommendations. We at Lone Star watch the weather every week. We calculate the amount of water that is lost from our lawns by evaporation and transpiration and compare that to the amount of rainfall near your home or business during the previous week. Then we provide you with the maximum amount of water that you should provide during the following week to maintain a healthy, green lawn. Then, we do it again the following week.
We hope you’ll use this valuable tool and that you’ll help spread the word by letting your friends and neighbors know about the Weekly Watering Recommendation service provided by Lone Star. Watering our landscape is the greatest use of water in our county during the summer—and—we all have a tendency to use much more water on our grass than is needed. Cutting back on watering will make the roots grow deeper and produce a healthier, more vibrant yard. What better way to save our most precious natural resource than to be thoughtful and prudent when watering our landscape? Any more than necessary is a waste. Let’s save that water for a better use. Conservation—it’s our business.
Thanks for doing your part to conserve our most precious natural resource!
Did you know that when you make it too easy for your lawn to “drink,” you’re doing it more harm than good?
Grass is lazy! If there’s plenty of water on the surface, its roots won’t work to dig down for nutrition. And if your lawn has shallow roots, when the heat of the summer hits, it will have a hard time surviving.
So, how much water does your lawn need? A good rule of thumb is one inch each week, but there are other factors to consider, including rainfall and evapotranspiration.
We want to help you figure out the right amount for your lawn, so as a first step, we installed a weather station here at the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District. This station transmits data so that we can have a true picture of how much water is needed on a weekly basis. Our hope is that our community partners will join us in adding more stations to the area, and we’ll post their data and calculate watering recommendations for their part of the county.
Low Impact Development (LID)
One example of LID in the region is the apartment complex shown here. The detention requirement busted the developer's pro-forma, so they sought LID alternatives.
In the end, not only did they meet requirements, the re-design also yielded two additional buildings equal to 48 more apartment units!
The water you don’t need is the least expensive water you’ll ever buy! This is the basic idea of conservation, which is the easiest and cheapest way to reduce deficit-pumping of the Gulf Coast Aquifer. At Lone Star GCD, we believe that education is the first step to conservation. Most people don’t realize just how much water they’re wasting, and how easy it is to reduce water usage by just changing a few habits and taking a look at fixtures in our homes. Crazy to think about, isn’t it? And not to mention, wasting water also impacts your bank account! Check out the tips below for ways to save at your house – both indoors and out!
Around The House
Identify hidden water leaks. A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. Insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You will not waste water waiting for it to heat up, and you will save energy too. Reuse water from your pet’s bowl or tank to water plants rather than dumping it. Reuse your drinking glasses. At home, instead of using a new cup each time you pour a drink, use the same one all day to reduce the need for washing. At a restaurant, only get water if you plan to drink it. It could take up to two additional cups of water to clean the glass you use.
Tips in the Bathroom
- Take short showers. Use a timer to help keep your shower to five minutes or less or even turn off water while soaping up. A shower generally uses less water than a full bath.
- Don’t waste water when brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your hands. Shut off the water until it is time to rinse.
- Put a bucket in the shower to catch water while it is still warming up. That water can be used for watering plants inside or out.
- Use the trash can, not the toilet to dispose of trash. With each flush, five or more gallons of water are wasted.
- Check your toilets for leaks. Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
- Replace your fixtures with water-efficient models. Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and have the potential to cut water flow by half.
- Put plastic bottles or float boosters in your toilet tank. This simple displacement technique may save ten or more gallons of water per day. Note: be sure at least three gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly. If there is not enough water to get a proper flush, you may have to use multiple flushes to get rid of waste. Install an adjustable toilet flapper to help find the balance to achieve a single good flush.
- For new installations, consider buying “low flush” toilets, which use one to two gallons per flush instead of the usual three to five gallons.
Tips in the Kitchen
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. It will be cool and you will not have to waste water waiting for the tap to cool down.
- Soak fruits and vegetables in a pan rather than letting the water run to clean them.
- Use garbage disposals sparingly. They require a lot of water to function properly. Consider starting a compost pile to dispose of food waste.
- Dry scrape dishes into the trash instead of rinsing. Your dishwasher will take care of the rest.
- If you must wash dishes by hand, soak them in soapy water first to reduce the amount of time needed to rinse.
- Run automatic dishwashers only when fully loaded for optimum conservation. Use a light wash cycle when possible.
- Install faucet aerators. You will not notice the difference, but you can cut your sink water flow by half.
Tips in the Laundry Room
- Run only full loads of laundry. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load.
- Avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an extra five gallons for the second rinse.
- When it is time to replace your washing machine consider energy-efficient options. Energy Star rated washers use up to 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. Frontload washers use about a third of the water of water of conventional washing machines.
Take time to plan your landscaping incorporating plants and practices that will require little water once established. Consider applying the principles of xeriscape or Texas SmartScape planning, limiting turf areas, selecting and zoning plants appropriately, improving the soil, using mulch, irrigating efficiently and maintaining the landscape. To search what plants do best in your zip code, visit Texas AgriLife for descriptions, along with photos.
- Plant drought-resistant, adapted and native grasses, shrubs and plants that use less water and are most resistant to diseases. For more information on what plants thrive in Montgomery County, visit: the Earth Kind Plant Selector.
- Group plants according to their watering needs.
- Replace grass with artificial turf where possible and incorporate rock beds into your yard. You will save time and money in the long run because there is no need mow or water to keep the yard looking good.
- Incorporate organic material into your soil and top with a layer of mulch two to four inches thick around trees and plants to help soil to retain moisture.
Low Impact Development
Low Impact Development (LID) is based on the principle to model landscaping after nature by managing rainfall at the source, mimicking a site’s pre-development hydrology by using design techniques that infiltrate, filter, store, evaporate and detain runoff close to its source. Want to know more? Take a look at this presentation to see real-life examples of LID in the Houston-Galveston Region (courtesy of EHRA Engineering): Introduction to Low Impact Development
- Water your lawn only when it needs it. Letting the grass grow to about three inches will also promote water retention in the soil.
- Utilize water saving tools like drip-irrigation systems, rain barrels, soaker hoses, and variable spray nozzles.
- Use sprinkler systems wisely. Install rain shutoff devices and adjust sprinklers to eliminate overspray on driveways and other pavement. Try to avoid watering on windy days.
- Water lawns early in the morning or in the evening to prevent the evaporation of water. Some communities have ordinances that dictate when watering is allowed so check the guidelines near you.
- Most Texas lawns only need about one inch of water each week. Deep soak the lawn to let the water reach the roots. To determine how long you should run your sprinklers, place straight-edged cans at different distances away from the sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of one inch of water in each can.
- If you wash your car at home, turn off the hose between rinses. Find local car washes that either recycle the water or have waterless systems.
- Use a broom, not a hose, to clean driveways, patios, and sidewalks.
- Keep couplings, hoses, faucets and pipes drip-free.
- Consider installing a rain barrel to maximize rain water.
Water Conservation Checklist
Although water is seemingly abundant, many don’t realize they’re overusing until it’s too late. Even worse, the combination of a high demand for water and challenging climatic conditions can cause a drought.
Everyday habits — like keeping the faucet running while brushing your teeth or using a large pan while cooking — can add up and contribute to stress on water systems. In order to ensure a secure and low-cost supply of water, every individual’s effort to conserve is important.
Conserving water doesn’t have to be difficult: if everyone understands their water use habits, they can easily eliminate waste. The best and easiest place to start is the home, but a major challenge is determining where to start first.
Learn how you can reduce water use in your home today by downloading our Water Conservation Checklist: Water_Conservation_Checklist-2