Water Conservation

Outdoor Water Conservation

In the summer months, outdoor watering can account for as much as 50 percent of a household's water use. Please do your part to make sure you are being water smart!

General Tips:

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk.
  • If you wash your own car, use a hose nozzle and turn off the water while you soap your car.
  • Bathe your pets outdoors in an area in need of water.
  • Compost kitchen scraps, lawn clippings and garden waste.


  • Water your lawn about 1” a week, including rain, in temperatures below 85 degrees. Hotter temperatures require  around 1 ½” per week for landscaping. (If you would like a more scientific and data-driven approach, check out our Weather Station.) As an easy rule-of-thumb, you can figure out how long it will take to get one inch of water by using the "Tuna Can Method." Here's how it works:

                                 •  Place 3 to 5 empty tuna or cat food cans at different distances from the sprinkler.

                                 •   After 15 minutes, stop the water and check the water level in the tuna cans.
                                     If the can is full, your lawn is properly watered.
                                     If it ran over, you’re watering too much.

                                 •  Note the time it took to fill the can and that’s about how long you need to water your lawn.

  • Use a timer when watering. It is easy to forget and over water.
  • A hearty rain can eliminate the need for watering for up to two weeks — add a rain sensor and make weekly changes to your irrigation controller to account for weather changes.
  • Water your lawn in the early morning or in the evening when there is less evaporation. Don’t water on windy days (it can be blown away from plants) and don’t water the sidewalk, driveway or street.
  • Before watering, check the soil below the surface. Just because the surface is dry doesn’t mean that the roots need water. There may be moisture below the surface.
  • Adjust sprinklers so you don’t water the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Water the roots and soil around plants rather than spraying the leaves and flowers.
  • Deep soak your lawn. Water infrequently but thoroughly so that moisture soaks deep to the roots.
  • Add soil amendments before you plant, such as compost or peat moss, to improve water retention and soil quality. Use mulch generously. It slows evaporation, keeps plant roots cooler and controls weeds.
  • Adjust your mower to a higher setting and mow more frequently. Consider leaving clippings on the lawn. Longer grass blades provide shade and help hold in moisture longer.

Landscape Maintenance

  • All landscapes require regular maintenance. Pruning, efficient watering and pest control will keep plants healthy and your water bill lower. Weed regularly since weeds compete with your grass for water and nutrients. Fertilize only the minimum amount needed. Extra fertilizer actually increases water consumption.
  • Once a year aerate your lawn, particularly if your soil is compacted. This will improve the lawn’s health and ability to absorb water.

Pool & Spas

  • Install covers on pools and spas to reduce evaporation. A pool cover is a clever way to reduce evaporation and the need to regularly top up your pool’s water level.
  • Without a cover, more than half the water in your pool can evaporate over a year.
  • Try to keep the water level of your pool halfway up the skimmer opening. Overfilling the pool stops the skimmer working as well and wastes water.
  • Use a grease pencil to mark the level of your pool at the skimmer. Check it 24 hours later. Your pool should lose no more than 1/4 inch each day.

Looking for Indoor Conservation Tips?

Other Conservation Links:

Texas Water Development Board
Water IQ
Texas Living Waters Project