District offers tips to handling the ongoing drought conditions

Without necessary amounts of water – which we have not seen for months – trees either shut down or die, like these south of town on Hwy. 51. Photo by Mark K. Campbell

Without necessary amounts of water – which we have not seen for months – trees either shut down or die, like these south of town on Hwy. 51. Photo by Mark K. Campbell
Texas is experiencing its second driest stretch between March and August in recorded weather history.
Drought is a common topic of conversation these days and the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (UTGCD) office has some ways to soften the lack of water blow.
Texas is no stranger to these extreme dry spells, which can have a long-lasting effect on many aspects of the environment – including our groundwater.
According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, North Texas has recently been experiencing drought conditions ranging from Abnormally Dry (D0) to Extreme (D3).
This has put a strain on many natural resources, including groundwater, which serves as the sole source of water for many people in the area through both public water systems and private wells.
In drought years, trends show that the lack of precipitation and high temperatures can lead to higher water consumption and more dependence on groundwater which can lead to faster depletion of this precious resource.
Whether relying on groundwater or surface water, water conservation is crucial the future of all Texans.
Saving water now can have a tremendous impact on the aquifer and our communities in the future.
Some of the small, everyday changes you can make to help are:
• Check for toilet and faucet leaks and repair immediately
• Install aerators on faucets and remember to turn them off when not in use
• If you do not have a low-flow toilet, use water displacement device in the tank
• While waiting for hot water to reach faucet, catch cold water in a container to water potted plants
• Only run the dishwasher and the washing machine with full loads
• Reduce shower time – On average, a shower uses about two gallons of water per minute. If you take a 30-minute shower, that’s 60 gallons of water; vs. a five-minute shower, which uses 10 gallons.
According to the Texas Water Development Board, almost 31 percent of annual residential use is outside, but in the summer that number is much higher.
You can help lower that percentage by:
• Watering between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
• Not over watering plants (According to the EPA, up to 50 percent of water is lost to evaporation, wind, or runoff due to overwatering.)
• For automatic sprinkler systems:
• Check sprinkler heads regularly to prevent clogging
• Adjust to eliminate overspray and adjust run times and frequency to respond to water schedules, changing rainfall, and temperature conditions
• For hose-end sprinklers: use sprinkler timers to limit water duration
• Use hand-held hose, drip irrigation, or soaker hoses for trees, garden, non-turf areas, and bedded plants
• Cut lawns on highest setting and leave lawn clippings on lawn instead of bagging
• Use mulch to preserve soil moisture
• Utilize supplemental water sources, such as collected rainwater, where possible
These small shifts in daily routine can affect big change, and every individual can make a difference by conserving. Help ensure that future generations will have the water they need.
Interested in registering an existing well?
Questions about free water testing?
Call the UTGCD office at (817) 523-5200 or check out their website at www.uppertrinitygcd.com for more information.