The City of Houston and the North Harris County Regional Water Authority ‘NHCRWA’ have both implemented Stage 1 of their respective Drought Contingency Plans. As a participant of the NHCRWA, Harris County Municipal Utility District No. 360 (the “District”) is implementing Stage 1 of its Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) immediately. Customers in the District are asked to respond to Voluntary Water Restrictions for all landscaped and other areas:
VOLUNTARY IRRIGATION IS LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING TIMES AND DAYS ONLY
Peak hourly use usually occurs between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m., with a secondary peak between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Please reduce water usage during this time.
We can all reduce our peak water use, and utility bills, by watering only as needed; washing full loads of laundry; and using more efficient plumbing fixtures.
Residential water use reaches its peak from late July through August due to increased outdoor water use, but peaks can occur throughout the summer. During peak water use season, home-owners typically use two to four times more than in winter.
The average American home uses about 260 gallons of water per day; during peak season, homes can use about 1,000 gallons of water in a day. Some homes use as much as 3,000 gallons on a peak day, or the equivalent of leaving garden hose running for nearly 8 hours!
When temperatures rise and rain is scarce, peak water use in single-family homes typically occurs due to lawn and garden watering or when topping off a swimming pool.
Experts estimate that 50 percent of the water we use outdoors goes to waste from evaporation or runoff due to overwatering.
With the exception of extreme heat waves, peak use typically occurs on weekends as many people use their free time to tend to lawns and landscapes, do laundry, and wash cars.
Simple Tips for Saving Water Outdoors:
Step on it: Grass doesn’t always need water just because it’s hot out. Step on the lawn, and if the grass springs back, then it doesn’t need water. An inexpensive soil moisture sensor can also show the amount of moisture at the plant’s roots and discourage overwatering.
Tune up your system: Inspect irrigation systems and check for leaks and broken or clogged sprinkler heads. Fix sprinkler heads that are broken or spraying on the street or driveway.
Play zone defense: Assign areas of your landscape different zones depending on sun/shade exposure, soil and plant types, and type of sprinklers, then adjust your irrigation system or watering schedule based on those zones.
Give your hose a break: Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps rather than hosing them off. And don’t forget to check for leaks at your spigot connection and tighten as necessary.
Leave it long: Raise your lawn mower blade. Longer grass promotes deeper root growth, resulting in a more drought resistant lawn, reduced evaporation, and fewer weeds.
We know living in Texas, water conservation can be inherently more difficult during the summer months and that’s why the EPA and the Texas Water Development Board has published water savings tips that will not only show you how to help conserve water, but also help you conserve cost.
Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. For portions of your lot where a lawn and landscaping are desired, ask your local nursery for tips about plants and grasses with low water demand (such as creeping fescue). Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery for much of the year and usually demand less water. Use native plants in flower beds. Native plants have adapted to rainfall conditions in Texas and often provide good wildlife habitat. Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.
When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, has more leaf surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage and fend off disease.
Only water the lawn when necessary. If you water your lawn and garden, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn’t sufficient. Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate). Use soaker hoses to water gardens and flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care to be sure they don’t water walkways and buildings. When you water, put down no more than 1 inch (set out an empty cans to determine how long it takes to water 1 inch) each week. This watering pattern will encourage more healthy, deep grass roots. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in the growth of shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought and foot traffic. If an automatic lawn irrigation system is used, be sure it has been properly installed, is programmed to deliver the appropriate amount and rate of water, and has rain shut-off capability.
Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.
Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.
Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).
When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse (or let mother nature wash your car when it rains).
Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.
The NHCRWA fee on your water bill is imposed by the North Harris County Regional Water Authority. NHCRWA increased their well pumpage fee effective April 1, 2021, from $4.25 per thousand gallons to $4.60 per thousand gallons. Harris County MUD 360 does not control this fee, which is a direct pass through cost, with increases expected annually.