Historical drought, growing population call attention to critical need for water conservation
MESQUITE — Citing the devastating results of water shortages, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, along with a group of state and local leaders and a partnership of private businesses today announced the Texas Water Smart conservation campaign. The result of a public-private coalition, Texas Water Smart encourages households and businesses to adopt everyday habits to curb wasteful water usage.
“We have a choice to make: conserve water now or risk more job losses in the future," Commissioner Staples said. “Our recent historical drought and booming population point to an unavoidable conclusion; it’s time all Texans take a serious look at individual water-use habits and find common-sense ways to conserve. The recent realities are both alarming and painful as drinking water was jeopardized and businesses and households were faced with scarce water resources. With the launch of Texas Water Smart, I’m reminding all Texans that a few drops saved, when multiplied by 25 million citizens, will go a long way.”
Recent spring rains have not reduced the need to conserve water. Across the state, water managers may be forced to move to severe outdoor water-use restrictions, which could ban all outdoor watering. This would have a major impact on the nursery and landscape industry, which has a $14.6 billion economic impact on the state. Retail businesses, local government and homeowners could also realize a loss of sales and sales tax revenue, and a loss of landscape investment.
The Texas Water Smart consumer conservation campaign was launched at The Home Depot in Mesquite with several state legislators, Metroplex mayors and business leaders joining Commissioner Staples. A comprehensive consumer education initiative, Texas Water Smart has goals to employ television, radio and print ads, social media and other targeted awareness tools to show Texans easy and practical ways to conserve.
Texas Water Smart asks all Texans to Get Water Smart by adopting more frugal water-use habits such as:
- Watering only when plants look like they need it, keeping in mind most plants die from over-watering, not under-watering;
- Checking outdoor faucets, hoses and sprinklers for water-wasting leaks, and making sure to repair them quickly;
- Adjusting sprinklers so only lawns and gardens are watered – not houses, sidewalks or streets;
- Cleaning driveways, patios and sidewalks with a broom or leaf blower instead of a hose.
Other recommended methods of water conservation include using watering cans rather than hoses and adding a layer of mulch to flower beds to better retain water.
Inside the home, Texas Water Smart encourages shorter bath times, washing only full loads of dishes and clothes, and fixing leaky faucets and toilets.
For more helpful tips and information, visit www.TexasWaterSmart.com.
Here is what members of the Texas Water Smart coalition are saying:
“Texas Water Smart is the perfect example of what happens when Texans rally together to solve important issues — like water conservation,” said Jim Tates, President, Southwest Region, Scotts Miracle-Gro. “Scotts Miracle-Gro is proud to do our part as one of the founding members of Texas Water Smart by helping promote sustainability for homeowners and businesses.”
“It is great to have the nursery/landscape industry partnering with public entities to help ensure future water needs,” said President Amy Graham, Texas Nursery & Landscape Association. “Even though municipalities in the state are easing water restrictions, it is important to remember we still need to conserve water. Install your plant material, and know how much water is needed to sustain its life. Find an industry certified nursery/landscape professional in your community who will advise you on your landscape and maintenance needs.”
“TRA is committed to investing time and resources into educating consumers on issues that affect our environment and developing ways that businesses and customers can work together to achieve a common goal,” said Ronnie Volkening, President, Texas Retailers Association. “This is why we are proud to join the Texas Water Smart coalition, which unites both business and civic leadership into a campaign that will create awareness and action across the state at both the retail and consumer levels. We look forward to working with our partner organizations and advocates to strengthen water conservation practices across Texas.”
“It’s never more important to raise the awareness about water conservation in our communities,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “Providing clean and affordable water is an essential city service that supports the health of our citizens, promotes business development and encourages economic growth. If we don’t take action now to curb our use of this natural resource, our challenges in providing this essential service—and the cost of delivering it—will only increase.”
“Since municipal conservation represents 7.2 percent of the water management strategies recommended by the regional planning groups to deal with the projected shortage of water by 2060, this new effort is of vital importance,” said Chairman Edward Vaughan, Texas Water Development Board. “It is particularly encouraging to see the business community taking the lead and an active role in dealing with the state's future water needs.”
“For several years now, the TCEQ has been working with other state agencies to educate water suppliers on ways to plan to manage to avoid shortages of water during droughts,” said TCEQ Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D. “For most suppliers this will mean enacting conservation measures promptly, maintaining systems well to avoid leaks, and developing alternate sources of water where possible. The drought is not over yet—when your pump runs dry, it's too late.”
“The Home Depot is committed to giving back in the communities where our associates live and work, so we are happy to be part of an initiative that helps the residents in our community and helps the environment,” said Santiago Bernardez, Regional Vice President, Southwest Region at The Home Depot. “Through our Eco Options program, WaterSense labeled products and our in-store water conservation workshops, we are dedicated to educating customers and are glad to join the efforts of the Texas Water Smart coalition to extend that education to even more members of the community.”