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The Top 7 Water Utilities in Texas: What They’re Doing Right

The recently-released 2020 Texas Water Conservation Scorecard provides an extraordinarily detailed analysis of water conservation efforts at over 350 Texas water utilities. The only effort of its kind in Texas, the Scorecard evaluates each utility on a range of criteria including compliance with conservation planning and reporting requirements, its record on water loss and meeting targets for water use reduction, outdoor watering limits, and rate-based incentives for efficient use of water. Medium to large utilities were evaluated on 10 criteria and could earn up to 100 points on the scorecard. Smaller utilities were evaluated on 6 criteria and could earn up to 55 points.

While a comparison with the 2016 Scorecard shows mixed progress overall, several utilities stand out as particularly high-achieving. The cities of Hurst and Friendswood, for example, showed the most improved scores from 2016. They joined five other utilities with scores over 75 points:

  1. City of Hurst (84 points)
  2. City of Austin Water & Wastewater (80 points)
  3. City of Fort Worth (78 points)
  4. City of Lubbock (78 points)
  5. Dallas Water Utility (75 points)
  6. City of Wylie (75 points)
  7. City of Friendswood (75 points)

What are these utilities getting right in terms of water conservation? The 2020 Scorecard shows the most successful utilities are:

Submitting Conservation Plans & Reports

Each of the top-performers are paying careful attention to their required conservation planning and reporting. All seven utilities submitted complete Water Conservation Plans, Annual Reports, and Water Loss Reports.

Setting & Achieving Goals

All seven of these utilities met and exceeded their five-year conservation goals set in 2014. Furthermore, most of the utilities followed up this success by setting even more ambitious conservation goals for the next five-year cycle.

Restricting Outdoor Watering Year-round

Six of the top seven utilities have instituted mandatory watering schedules throughout the year. All seven have conservation-based water structures.

Alongside these notable successes, the 2020 Scorecard also highlights a few areas where these utilities, like many in Texas, continue to struggle. Water loss from aging infrastructure and a continued lag in implementation of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) suggested by the Texas Water Development Board remain particularly noteworthy areas of concern. While there is still much work to do, we applaud the utilities that have taken clear steps to improve water conservation in their areas of service. We hope in the next five years we will see improvements across the board!

For more information on the Scorecard’s methodology, results, and recommendations, take a look at the Scorecard website. The interactive site allows users to quickly identify individual utilities’ scores and analysis.

Texas Living Waters
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