The Water Spot

The City's water conservation program coordinator will write about interesting information relating to City water projects, water reuse projects, water conservation program and rebates, drought information and timely news regarding water use within Round Rock.

October 2013 - Posts

Vote for...

It's voting season!  From reading the signs along the roadways and street corners, we have the ability and duty to vote for our parks, our roads, libraries, fire department, and the well-being and betterment of our town and county!

What I haven't seen yet is a sign promoting voting for our water.  Proposition 6 information specifically.  Proposition 6 relates to the State Water Plan.   You can find more at the Water4Texas website or at the Texas Water Foundation website.

Here's the basics though about what Prop 6 is and what's its purpose is:

  • Proposition 6 creates and constitutionally dedicates two new funds: the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas (SWIFT) and State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas (SWIRFT). If the voters approve Proposition 6, the legislature has also authorized a one-time, $2 billion investment from the Economic Stabilization Fund (also known as the Rainy Day Fund) to be deposited into the SWIFT for the support of water supply projects in the state water plan. These funds are designed to make the financing of water projects through bonds more affordable for local entities and ensure that consistent, ongoing state financial assistance is available so that our citizens will have adequate water supplies during drought. 
  • Texas grows by approximately 1200 people every day, and our state's population is projected to nearly double by 2060.  The state's current water supplies cannot suport that growth.
  • The funds being invested by Prop 6 will provide low-interest loads for water supply projects.  Prop 6 doesn't provide grants--these are loans that must be repaid to the state. 
  • The recipients of these loans will be limited to political subdivisions of the state, such as towns and cities, to help them implement criticial water supply projects, including water conservation strategies.
  • The funds approved by Prop 6 will be loaned from constitutionally-dedicated accounts, which means that the funds can only be used for water supply projects included in our State Water Plan.
  • The funds will be managed by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
  • Prop 6 will not raise taxes.

Please vote this election season, and think about our water supply when voting!

When (Not) to Water, part 2

Rain, rain, come and stay!  Isn't all this rain wonderful?  The plants and flowers in my yard are looking fantastic!  And everyone's rainbarrels are overflowing!  Driving around town, I see plenty of great looking landscapes.  The best part is that we haven't had to water our yards for a few weeks now, thanks to Mother Nature.  For those of us with automatic sprinkler systems that may forget to turn them off during rain episodes, I highly encourage you to purchase and install a rain sensor.  This will help save some water, save a little money, and certainly, save your image by not allowing your sprinklers to water during or just after a nice rainstorm.  I know I've seen many properties doing just that (watering while it's raining)--and it drives me nuts!rain sensor

Rain sensors prevent an irrigation system from turning on during or after a rain event, after a specified amount (you set this on the sensor) of water has fallen into it.  It then allows the system to turn back on and run according to its schedule after it's dried out.  A sensor doesn't stop the irrigation system from turning on when a rain storm is predicted, though there is technology out there that does just that.  That would be a weather station, that receives weather data several times a day to determine if watering is needed on any day or not.  One such sensor like this is called idd; all of the major irrigation manufacturers (Rainbird, HunterToro) have weather-based sensors that can be installed and set to water based more on weather conditions, or soil moisture, rather than just a set schedule.  This type of watering schedule is better for the landscape and can be modified to work with restrictions on watering days. 

Any type of rain sensor is rebated by the City's Water Conservation program, at 75% of the cost of the sensor.  Just submit the rebate application after the sensor is installed.  And if you haven't yet turned off your irrigation controller, please go do it!

Learn a little more about rain sensors here:

Water Restrictions in Effect

Well, if you hadn't yet heard, the City is now under mandatory water restrictions!  I am personally not a fan of the word "mandatory" as it elicits the repsonse that you now have to do something...in this case water your yard.  This is a constant struggle, when to use the "M" word and when not to. Too many times, mandatory water restrictions cause water use to increase in a community or town. That's exactly what we don't want to happen! Folks think that since it's their day to water, they'd better do it, or else it's x many days before they have the opportunity to water again.  But, hopefully, common sense will prevail...especially with all the rain this week! 

With the cooling temperatures, onset of Autumn, and regular rainfall, twice per week watering is more than enough.  Quite frankly, it's too much for many areas like native plants beds and shady turf areas.  Of course, hand-watering is permitted at any time for any area that may need some extra help.  Properties that use rainwater to irrigate with are exempt from the water restrictions; so that's another good reason to collect and use rainwater!  

We have been asked why it has taken Round Rock "so long" to enact mandatory restrictions, which isn't an easy or quick answer.  It stems from a variety of factors, with the two main ones being:  1. our Drought Contingency Plan (in Chapter 44) states that the City will enter into Stage 1 when Lake Georgetown reaches a level of 770', currently the lake is at 773', so we still haven't met the first criteria for restrictions;  2. Our overall City monthly water usage has been low this year, much lower than use in 2012 or 2011, or 2009. We've seen monthly usage very similar to 2010, which was a wet year.  This means our customers (our residences) have already been using water efficiently at their properties.

So, if you choose to water once the rain has all passed, you may hand-water at any time you choose.  Homes with an even address water days are Thursdays and Sundays; homes with an odd-address are Wednesdays and Saturdays.  All commercial and multifamily properties days are Tuesdays and Fridays.  No irrigation is allowed between 10am - 7pm.

Below is Lake Georgetown, Round Rock's main water source.