Conserving Water in Urban Environments

This is Passport to Texas

San Antonio has long been viewed as the role model in water conservation. That’s primarily because it relies on the strictly regulated Edwards Aquifer.

Greg Flores is the vice president of public affairs for San Antonio Water Systems. He says because of San Antonio’s experience in water conservation, it can help other cities with their programs.

:12—There are a number of communities that will for the first time have to submit water conservation plans to the state of Texas. Well we’ve got a lot of experience doing that for many years, and we can help a lot of communities get their plans done and submitted to the state.

In 2008, San Antonio used one hundred thirty nine gallons of water per person per day.

Dallas used two hundred and seven gallons per person per day. But that’s down twenty percent from water use in 2000. And Yvonne Dupré, a Dallas water conservation program coordinator, says outdoor watering restrictions, conservation education and rebates for water efficient toilets are paying off.

:09—We have really seen a difference. Our population has continued to grow in this region, but our gallons per capita per day continues to decline.

But as cities grow and resources are limited, cities like Dallas and San Antonio are searching for other sources of water. Do what you can to conserve; we have tips at passporttotexas.org.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.
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Water Conservation Tips*

Inside

  • Check your home for leaks: read 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. Repair all leaks a.s.a.p.!
  • Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily by disposing of tissues and other waste into the trash can.
  • Take shorter showers and consider buying an ultra-low-flow showerhead.
  • Do not let water run while brushing your teeth or washing your face.
  • Store drinking water in the refrigerator rather than letting the tap run every time you want a glass of water.
  • Operate automatic dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are fully loaded.
  • Consider installing an instant water heater on your kitchen sink so you don’t have to let the water run while it heats up.
  • Recycle water from your fish tank by using it to water plants. Fish emulsion is a good, inexpensive fertilizer high in nitrogen and phosphorus.

Outside

  • Use a broom rather than a hose to clean sidewalks and driveways.
  • Place a layer of mulch around trees and plants to retain water.
  • Use a moisture indicator to tell when your lawn needs watering and when it does not.
  • Do not over-water your lawn. As a general rule, lawns only need watering every five to seven days in the summer and every ten to fourteen days in the winter. A hearty rain eliminates the need for watering for as long as two weeks.
  • Water lawns during the early morning hours when temperatures and wind speeds are the lowest. This reduces losses from evaporation.
  • Raise the lawn mower blade to at least three inches. A lawn cut higher encourages grass roots to grow deeper, shades the root system and holds soil moisture better than a closely-clipped lawn.
  • Plant native and/or drought tolerant grasses, ground covers, shrubs and trees.
  • Consider installing drip irrigation for individual bushes, trees, flowers, and garden areas.

* Special thanks to the American Water Works Association. Please visit their web site at www.awwa.org for additional information.

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