WATER CONSERVATION: What are suggestions for implementing a County-wide program for Water Conservation? Some include:
- Given the estimate above that 60% of our residential water use in summer is for irrigation, numerous concepts utilized currently by other communities could be applied. Automatic sprinkler systems can have rain sensors added which stops the system from engaging if a certain amount of rain has fallen. Manual sprinkler systems (hose with a sprinkler attached) could require a dial timer inserted before the sprinkler itself which forces the homeowner to set a specific watering duration (How many times have you turned on your manual sprinkler and forgot to turn it off?). Automatic sprinkler systems can have a feature added which turn off your system if a sprinkler head is broken off or an underground water line is broken.
- Consideration could be given to the specific landscaping plants that you select. Obviously, some plants and trees require more water than others. Similarly, certain lawn grasses require significantly less water thanSt. Augustine, for example.
- Many modifications within your home can reduce the amount of water that you consume. Examples include low water volume toilets, low water volume shower heads, and water efficient dish washers. Showers typically take less water than baths. Reducing shower duration affects water use. Reducing frequency of car washes affects water use. Eliminating the use of your water hose to clean your sidewalks and driveways reduces water use. I’m sure you could come up with further ideas of your own.
- Consideration should be given to reducing or eliminating amenity ponds and water features that are created strictly for aesthetic purposes. Amenity ponds are currently replenished with groundwater and water features (waterfalls, fountains) create excessive evaporation.
- Utility Districts/MUD’s are contemplating a tiered rate structure that charges more money per unit (gallons) based on your individual residential water use. Basically, a “standard” is set for residential water use per month. If you use the “standard” amount, you pay the standard price per gallon. If you use more water than the “standard”, you pay a higher price per gallon. If you use less water than the “standard”, you pay a lower price per gallon. This type of program assumes that water users are price sensitive and that they will reduce usage when they 1) pay closer attention to their water usage, and 2) must pay a higher unit cost per gallon due to their “excessive” use. This type of program has already been implemented in certain Utility Districts within Conroe and The Woodlands.
- State legislation could be developed that mandates water conservation in some form. Currently, neither The State of Texas nor Montgomery County nor SJRA nor LSGCD nor anyone else can mandate water conservation. Senator Nichols has approached the LCA and Lake Conroe Communities Network for assistance in drafting wording for possible water conservation legislation. You can’t submit a bill for legislation without wording. Of course, nothing says such legislation would pass; but this is a start at addressing the State-wide problem of how to provide water to an ever-growing population.