Water use tips cannot be repeated enough

As published in the Lake Travis View, June 2020.

“Pay attention!” Hearing something once is never enough. We are exposed to repetition throughout our lives as a way to help us learn new skills and information. Messages are frequently repeated, sometimes with increasing urgency, to make a message stick and hopefully lead others into action. At times, sharing a message makes you feel like a broken record, but if you believe in it enough, you find new and creative ways to share it until enough people listen and believe it, too.

As a water utility, we can’t stress enough the value of the services we provide. Producing clean water is an important, but complicated task and the disposal of wastewater cannot be handled lightly. We take our job seriously and hope our customers understand why it is so crucial that they use water wisely. It’s a message we repeat time and time again, but is the importance of it sinking in? Here are the top five water use tips we have emphasized throughout the years in the hope it leads to changes in the way you use water:

#5: Think about this: water is vital to all life on Earth, yet there is no viable way to manufacture it. Almost the same amount of water that existed from the beginning of time exists today, but where it is in the water cycle and how humans interact with it determines the amount available for use. Technologies now exist that allow water operators to clean just about any water to drinking standards, but it’s expensive and time consuming.

#4: Water conservation is about more than just saving money. All of the raw water used for creating potable (drinking) water in Lakeway is pulled from Lake Travis. By law, we are not allowed to return treated water to the lake, so what we pull out, is not replenished unless it rains. Even if we can keep up with treating the water as quickly as our customers want to use it, there is only so much water in the lake for us to take.

#3: Don’t be the cause of a wastewater backup! Remember: just because it can go down the drain, doesn’t mean it should! “Flushable” wipes are not flushable. They are typically made from wood pulp and semi-synthetic fibers. Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) can cling to pipes, causing buildup and eventual blockages. Even using a garbage disposal to “break down” food may not be making pieces small enough to flush through the entire wastewater system. And don’t forget to use a hair catcher in the shower drain! The best approach is to throw it all in the trash or recycle it.

#2: Visit our website (LakewayMUD.org) or pick up information at our main office (1097 Lohmans Crossing) for ways you can conserve water inside and outside your home. Did you know there are rebates available through LCRA for your water-saving efforts? Being water-wise at home is easier than you think. Actions such as turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth and upgrading to water-efficient appliances can save thousands of gallons of water each year!

#1: High water bills? According to the Texas Water Development Board, on average, Texas residents use up to 67 percent of their water consumption for outdoor purposes. The most efficient way to water your lawn is infrequent, prolonged watering cycles. Automatic irrigation systems with a programmable controller are a common culprit for overwatering. Power outages, storms, battery failures, etc. can cause the schedule to be automatically wiped out or reset to a factory standard, potentially watering several hours every day (we’ve seen it happen!). It should be programmed to run only in the early morning or evening hours on your designated irrigation days (contact your water utility for details).

In a world where we are bombarded with information competing for our attention, we want you to consider that clean water is not limitless, yet it is a necessity for everyone, so it deserves our care and attention. Consider how you use it, when you use it, and how your other choices may be wasting or polluting it. Use water wisely. Every drop counts.

Written by Stephanie Threinen, Public Information Liaison, LMUD. Earl Foster is the General Manager of LMUD.