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Bryant: Municipal water use

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Kevin Bryant, Flower Mound Mayor Pro Tem
Kevin Bryant, Flower Mound Mayor Pro Tem

Let’s talk about water for a moment. The Town of Flower Mound, like most cities and towns in Texas, must buy water from another source. We buy water from the Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) and Dallas Water Utility (DWU). At this time, there are no other options for us to buy water. Additionally, the providers set the rate we must pay for water. The water districts really do control everything. We cannot go to another supplier to get lower rates. They are under the jurisdiction of the State and for the most part not elected by the people they serve.

There are a few terms that must be understood when talking about municipal water use. They are Peak Water and Average Daily Demand. Peak Water is the most amount of water used in a single day. Average Daily Demand is the the average use. Our current Peak Water day is 32.5 million gallons/day and our Average Daily Demand is just over 15.1 million gallons/day. I am sure you realize that the peak is in summertime when landscape irrigation is at its peak. Yes, we put 25 to 50% of the water we use on our lawns.

The town is required to have the Peak Water use available AT ALL TIMES. We cannot just buy more water in the summertime and less water in the fall/winter.

Our contracts with UTRWD/DWU combine to have enough water to meet our peak and allow for growth for the next decade. We cannot cut back the amount of water we are buying as the contracts are for as long as the water district is in operation.

So, we have all this water, we are charged a rate set by the supplier, and we really have no say in the cost and the amount we must buy. We bill for the amount used based on the rates set by our providers. The more we use, the more we have to buy, and the more we have to pay to the water districts.

As a town we know that we can only survive as long as we have water. We are taking many steps to keep our current peak as long as possible so we won’t have to buy more water at higher and higher prices. Among these steps are greater utilization of reclaimed rainwater for irrigation and other non-drinking uses, being vigilant in monitoring and utilizing the most efficient methods for watering public areas, and providing education programs for residents to be a more efficient consumer of water.

Individually, we are responsible for the amount of water we use. If more people were to conduct a simple independent water use audit, they would be amazed at how much water is used on a daily basis. To start this get the current number of gallons used from the water meter. Then 24 hours later log the number again. Do this for several days and note what type of water use for each day. Did you water the lawn? Have a swimming pool? Do extra loads of laundry? Having the numbers available on days you water the lawn and days you do not are very telling. By doing this simple audit, you can be alerted if you have a larger issues. (Video on understanding your water meter: https://youtu.be/gyhg8120zGM)

Did you know that most sprinkler system uses between 3-5 gallons PER HEAD PER MINUTE. So if you have a station with 5 heads running for thirty minutes, that’s approximately 750 gallons. That’s just one station ran one time, multiply that by the number of stations and how many times watering a week it can really add up:::

We are not alone with water use questions and concerns. Many cities and towns all across Texas are struggling with high water rates from the providers and how to manage growth and usage for the generations to come.

If you ever have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me at place3@flower-mound.com.

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