The scale of outdoor water use in drought-prone Texas is massive. A significant percentage of highly treated, drinkable water – not to mention the expensive infrastructure required to deliver that water – is put on our lawns. Because landscapes can survive and thrive with lower watering amounts and frequencies than they are commonly given, outdoor watering restrictions that limit outdoor watering to no more than twice per week can reduce total municipal water usage by as much as 11 percent.
The push towards permanent outdoor watering restrictions also comes in line with demographic and housing trends in recent decades. Texas is home to the fastest-growing cities in the nation, and with this growth comes burgeoning housing markets across many parts of the state. Because these housing preferences drive higher outdoor water usage, we need to curb excessive outdoor water use now more than ever before.
This map shows that outdoor watering habits vary from region to region, partly because of factors like climate and existing municipal watering programs:
Click here to see a regional breakdown of potential water savings.
Each of these regions can cut down on their water use by at least two percent when they implement these outdoor watering restrictions, even if these programs don’t have strong education and enforcement measures. With stronger levels of education and enforcement, some regions can cut water use by more than 22 percent.
Statewide, Texas can cut around 8.9 percent of its current municipal water use – enough to fill 381,839 football fields, each a foot deep with water – if its municipalities implement effective city-wide outdoor watering restrictions with strong education and enforcement components. Texas will need additional water supplies in the future to keep pace with a growing population and its water demands. If Texas communities can reduce their water use, we eliminate the need for costly additional water supplies. This is a win for everyone.
To see outdoor watering restrictions in action, click here to view case studies or click here to read our draft ordinance.
Did you know? Dallas, Austin, Frisco, Fort Worth and the Woodlands already use permanent outdoor watering restrictions as a part of their water conservation strategies.