NFBWA waterlines newsletter march 2013

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NFBWA waterlines newsletter march 2013

  1. 1. Spring 2013NFBWA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Authority on Track to Meet Conversion Deadlines Good news for the North Fort Bend Water Authority (the “Authority”): David Spell, The Fort Bend Subsidence District has given it (and all other Groundwater Precinct 1 Reduction Plans in Regulatory Area A) another year – to 2014 – to reach its initial goal of converting 30 percent of its usage from groundwater to alternate Robert Darden, water, primarily surface water. Precinct 2 Even better news: The Authority is already on track to reach that 30 percent goal in mid-2013, which means it will have another year to accumulate valuable Bruce Fay, over-conversion credits. Precinct 3 As of last count, the Authority had converted 13 separate municipal utility districts to surface water – which together account for up to 23 percent surfaceMelony F. Gay, P.E., water conversion for the current month. Another 10 MUDs are set for conversion Precinct 4 by this summer, says Authority engineer Melinda Silva, of Brown & Gay Engineers Inc. Robert L. Patton, “We have been working diligently, so you can see we will be even further Precinct 5 ahead,” Silva said. “We’ll be able to accumulate that many more over-conversion credits, and that will be of great benefit to the Authority and its rate payers.” Peter Houghton, The Authority -- which encompasses 69 utility districts and two cities, Precinct 6 Fulshear and Arcola -- is under mandate from the Fort Bend Subsidence District to reduce its dependence on groundwater. Over-pumping of groundwater is Pat Hebert, responsible for subsidence across the region, which can cause flooding and Precinct 7 foundation problems, and can permanently harm the aquifer as well. As of January 2013, 18 separate construction projects have been completed, 15 are under construction and 4 are starting design. These projects, which will wrap up what the Authority requires for the 2014 conversion, started on its east side – near the “take point” or connection with the Houston water system – and have been working west, headed for the Grand Parkway, and then north toward the Cinco Southwest area. Construction also is progressing quickly on what will be another major accomplishment for the Authority: A new pump station that should be coming on line this summer. The new pump station will replace an older facility the Authority has been leasing from the City of Houston, Find and fix leaks and will provide the Authority with more surface water delivery capacity. to save water “The end user at their homes are not and money! going to notice anything different when Continued on page 2 NORTH FORT BEND WATER AUTHORITY  www.nfbwa.comc/o Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP  3200 Southwest Freeway,  Suite 2600  Houston, Texas 77027 1
  2. 2. Conversion...Continued from page 1that new pump station goes into operation,” Silvaexplains. “But from an operational standpoint, thepermanent pump station will be much larger andgive the Authority much more capability. Plus, it istheir own station and designed for their needs. Onthe to-do list for the Authority, as far as reaching theconversion deadlines, it will be a huge milestone.” “That is quite a lot of work,” Silva said. “Theoriginal water construction estimate was $48.1 millionand the final construction cost was $34.4 million forthese 18 completed projects. We were able to takeadvantage of the downturn in the economy and thelower construction costs, to the benefit of our ratepayers. “Phenomenal” Growth... Authority meets short-term alternate water goals, as While the savings and over-conversion credits facilities that are part of the long-term surface waterare good financial news for the Authority, the work supplies are completed.occurs against the backdrop of revised census data In a related development elsewhere in the region,and “phenomenal” growth in the north Fort Bend a decision affecting an Authority partner will haveCounty area. This growth means greater demand important repercussions for Authority rate payers asfor water, and increased pressure for conversion to well, Silva said. The Harris-Galveston Subsidencealternate sources. District has given the West Harris County Regional Peter Houghton, president of the Authority’s Water Authority (the West Authority) five more yearsBoard of Directors, says “The Authority has delivered – until 2025 – to reach its second phase of conversionwater earlier than required. We’re ahead of schedule. to alternate water. The Subsidence District alsoWe’re building up credits. We have plans lined up changed the percentage conversion goal for 2025to meet our long-term needs” Houghton explaines, from 70 percent to 60 percent.“but the exceptionally rapid growth in North Fort The Authority is partnering with the WestBend could create some interim challenges…prior to Authority on that second phase, which includessome of these major long-term surface water projects construction of a massive cross-town “second source”being completed.” That rapid growth has fueled the water line bringing surface water from Lake HoustonAuthority’s exploration of various alternate water to west Harris County and north Fort Bend County.sources other than surface water to ensure that the The decision to extend the deadline will help spread out the cost of that huge project – and the necessary rate increases to pay for it – over a longer period, Silva explained. “Things take time to design and build. It was a balancing act,” Silva said. “The regulatory agency was trying to balance their objectives for alternate water conversion with the reality of what it takes to achieve that conversion. We’re not slowing down. We’re just trying to bring all this together in a reasonable and cost-effective way.” Such decisions affect the “Rubik’s Cube” that is the alternate water conversion challenge, Houghton said. “For North Fort Bend, we need to be even more innovative. How much can we conserve? How much can we reuse?” Houghton is confident the Authority will meet its challenges. In the meantime, conservation of precious 2
  3. 3. and expensive water resources remains a key part of the Authority’s mission. “We have to change the perception that water is free,” the Authority president said. “We have to change people’s usage and habits, and that can be even more challenging than all this construction.” Under the Authority’s mandate, alternate water must initially replace 30 percent of the groundwater now pumped by approximately 140 permitted wells within Authority boundaries, which will increase to a 60 percent conversion in 2025. For example, reducing groundwater usage by 30 percent means replacing it with roughly 14.5 million gallons per day (MGD) of alternate water in 2013 but that number grows with the population growth. Conversion to alternate water is a massive and expensive undertaking. To date, the Authority has installed approximately 36 miles of new water lines, in addition to construction of a new pump station and storage facilities. To fund all projects and right-of-way needed for the initial conversion deadline, as well as a portion needed for the next conversion phase, the Authority has sold over $280 million in bonds. The bonds are being repaid through groundwater and surface water fees charged to the well owners subject to the Authority’s Groundwater Reduction Plan. 3
  4. 4. Be careful what you throw away... Greasy food scraps can come back to haunt you! For a lot of families, the kitchen just seems to be the favorite place to gather.. especially when tempt-ing aromas beckon and there are lots of tasty tidbits to sample. When the scrumptious meals are over,however, everything from breakfast scraps to the more bulky “feast” leftovers get scraped into the disposalin the kitchen sink. It is not quite so appetizing to think of all those shredded greasy food scrapssliding down the drain where, once they begin to accumulate in the pipes, they can cause someserious blockage. Some foods and cooking ingredients are potentially more troublesome than others. Dis-carded substances like cooking oil, bacon grease, mayonnaise, poultry skin, and pasta canstagnate in underground plumbing lines and get even messier when joined by dinner rollscraps, gravy and mashed potatoes. Then sometime later, when the meal is long forgotten,the sewer system becomes blocked sufficiently to cause a backup inside the house and theplumber is the only one who benefits from costly remedies and repairs. While most homeowners may not be aware that commercial establishments and restau-rants are required to install “grease traps” or interceptors and have them cleaned regularly,there are no such requirements for private homes. It is up to the homeowner to make sure thattheir pipes aren’t clogged up with discarded food. According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), most sewer backups occurbetween the house and the main sewer lines. This means that it is the resident’s responsibility to cor-rect the problem. In even more complicated situations, grease blockages in the main lines can cause anunpleasant chain of events --sanitary sewer overflows lead to pollution of nearby lakes and streams whichcreate potential health threats for people and wildlife. Disposal of cooking grease into storm drains has the potential to cause more havoc. The storm drainslead directly to streams and creeks, so discarded grease can also pollute the nearest water source. Re-member, any substance poured onto the ground can end up in groundwater. Take the time to disposeof greasy substances properly...recycle as much as possible and pour cooking oils, lards, and grease intocloseable containers for disposal. Or consider mixing with dry kitty litter until the oil is absorbed and thenplace in a zipped-top bag for disposal. Additional tips for the disposal of grease and leftovers from TCEQ...  Place grease and used cooking oils in covered collection containers. Let them solidify on the counter or in the refrigerator before placing them in the garbage.  Scrape food scraps into trash cans or garbage bags; minimize the use of the disposal. Non-meat and dairy food items may be placed in a compost pile.  Remove oil or grease from dishes, pans and griddles by using a rubber spatula or paper towel to absorb it instead of rinsing it down the sink.  Do NOT pour cooking oil and grease down the drain...ever.  Overall, be careful what you scrape into the disposal. Once the walls of the pipes begin to clog up, all kinds of discarded scraps can make a bad problem a whole lot worse.  Don’t run hot water over dishes, pans, fryers or griddles to wash oil and grease down the drain.  4
  5. 5. Long Range Regional Planning Aims to Secure Water for Texas “The availability of water has always TEXAS WATER FACTOIDS...influenced patterns of settlement, and communities • The population of Texas is expected to increasein Texas originally grew where water was plentiful. a whopping 82 percent between now and 2060;But as many of our communities have grown, they growing from 25.4 million to 46.3 million people.have outstripped their water supplies, making Those numbers, staggering though they are, tellit necessary to more efficiently use local water only part of the story. And, as with a flowingresources, to work cooperatively with one another stream, the narrative goes downhill from there.on regional solutions to water problems, and to • Existing supplies – the amount of deliverablemove water around the state when necessary to water that can be produced with current permits,meet the needs of all our communities” (From the current contracts, and existing infrastructureIntroduction, WATER FOR TEXAS 2012). during drought are projected to decrease by Every five years, the Texas Water Development about 10 percent – from roughly 17.0 millionBoard (“TWDB”) publishes a state water plan. The acre-feet today to about 15.3 million acre-feetWater for Texas 2012 plan, adopted in December in 2060 (an acre-foot equals 325,851.4 gallons,2011, is designed to address the state’s demand for enough to supply about two families for a year).-- and the available supplies of – water over the next • In light of this anticipated decrease, if Texas50 years. The TWDB prepares its water plan by does nothing to implement new water supplygathering data on population and water demands projects or management strategies, then homes,from sixteen regional water planning areas. businesses, and agricultural enterprises across the After each region adopts its plan, it is sent state are projected to fall 8.3 million acre-to TWDB for approval. The TWDB then develops a feet short of needed supply by 2060!statewide water plan based on information submitted • Texas has 15 major river basins, 8 coastal basins, and 9 major and 21 minor groundwaterby the sixteen regions, as well as other sources. Both aquifers, but water supplies vary significantlythe regional and state plans are just that – water from year to year and from place to place.projects must be developed and implemented by a Because rainfall and stream flows in the state arelocal sponsor. unpredictable, communities have traditionally relied Region H on reservoirs as part of water resource planning. Region H is the designated planning group • Reservoir storage per person in the statefor our portion of the Gulf Coast and related inland has declined from a peak of 2.4 acre-feet ofareas. It consists of all or part of 15 counties, and conservation storage per person in 1980 to 1.7spans three river and four coastal basins in southeast acre-feet today. Our population has mushroomedTexas. Taking a “water is local” planning approach and reservoir construction has declined since thehelps balance our area’s requirements with the 1980’s. Without new reservoirs, other waterRegion’s available water supply. The information management strategies will fall short of meetinggathered by Region H planners – including local the state’s growing water needs. If no additionalpopulation projections, water requirement trends reservoirs are constructed during the next 50in agriculture and industry, the availability of both years, the amount of reservoir storage will furthersurface and underground water supplies, and water decline…to less than 1 acre-foot per personsupply strategies -- is critical to both our area’s future, in 2060…the lowest amount since immediatelyand to the state’s, as well. following the 1950’s drought of record! In our immediate area – Harris, Fort Bend • The TWDB’s mission is to provide leadership,and Montgomery Counties – there are some tough planning, financial assistance, information andrealities to be faced. The 2011-12 economically education for the steadfast development anddestructive and record-setting drought provided a conservation of water for Texas. Continued on page 8 5
  6. 6. IRRIGATION 101... Top 5 things to do if you have an irrigation system How often does your irrigation system come needlessly “bubbling” water up from the ground, ason when your grass doesn’t need any water? You oil did in the TV comedy, “Beverly Hillbillies”. Unlikekeep reminding yourself to check the system con- Jed Clampett’s windfall of oil money, you’ll be thetroller, but it just never seems to get done. “It’s not one paying for all that wasted water!hurting the grass,” you think, “so what’s the harm?” What are some signs of an irrigation systemBesides the obvious answer that it’s wasting water leak? How about water running off your yard and intoand money, too much water actually does harm your the street if a pipe is completely broken? Or maybelawn. Overwatering encourages turf to grow shallow an area of your yard is staying wetter than any otherroots which cause the grass to stress if water isn’t spot, even if your controller is turned off? Perhapsavailable. And, if your irrigation system is still on dur- your faucets have low pressure when your irrigationing winter months, add the fact that native grasses system is running? A typical residential 5/8” orlike St. Augustine are DORMANT during that time 3/4” water meter will flow about 13 gallons of waterof year, and need no more water than Mother Nature per minute. Imagine a broken pipe leaking all dayprovides. while you are away from home. After 8 hours, there It might be true that everything is bigger in could be 6,240 gallons of water wasted down theTexas…but that doesn’t have to include your water drain. Since your system may be running while youbill! Recent reports based on actual irrigation system are asleep or away from home, the problems mayevaluations in Montgomery, Harris and Ft. Bend have gone unobserved. And, unfortunately, whencounties has demonstrated that at least 90 percent your system is underground it is difficult to find leaksof residents who have irrigation systems water too until they appear. So, if you see these potentialoften...and 43 percent of that water runs off into the problem areas don’t delay in scheduling a professionalgutter and ultimately into the storm drain. audit/evaluation of your system, and then repair any There are a number of things that you can pipe leaks or broken, leaky heads that are confirmed.do to maximize the use of your irrigation system and 2. Timing is EVERYTHING!avoid wasting water and your money. One thing you In addition to adopting a water-efficientmight consider is to adopt a “conservative” watering watering schedule, set the system controller tocycle...using your house number, water no more than complete the watering cycle before 4:00 am to avoidtwice a week on an odd/even schedule. You might the peak demand of water for other household useschoose Saturday and Wednesday for odd numbers – like family showers, kitchen chores, and the use ofand Sunday and Thursday for even numbers. But, laundry appliances. This early morning program alsoskip a day if your grass doesn’t need watering – even prevents excessive evaporation that occurs in strongif it is a “watering” day. sunlight, and is a great time for a technique called Here are some of the most important things “Cycle and Soak”. This method applies wateryou can to do make the best, most water-efficient use slowly so the soil actually can absorb it. Each lawn hasof your irrigation system: different components – soil quality and content -- but1. Irrigation System Leaks the key here is to water only as long as it takes to get You might have heard folks saying that the moisture down into the soil, and that could be as littleblack gold of tomorrow may very well be blue…water. as 10 minutes or as many as 20 depending on theAs the price of this precious commodity continues to soil. It will take at least 30 minutes for the water togo up, it is important that your irrigation system is not percolate into the soil, so wait an hour to schedule the 6
  7. 7. next cycle. Do a test run; turn on a zone to discover watering your lawn is like running a marathon. Youat what length of time water is no longer soaking need to train the roots to grow or “run” deeper intointo the soil, and begins to run off. Use that amount the soil. If you water every day, the roots will stay nearof time to set the first programmed “cycle”. Set the the surface where the water is. There is no reasontimer to come on again after an hour, to deliver a for them to grow deeper or run longer. By skippingsimilar amount of water. Technically, while you may days between watering periods, the roots will beginbe watering more often, the system is delivering the to grow deeper to reach more water. Nutrients aresame amount of water...only it is being utilized more important for the plants as well. Aerate the soil toefficiently! provide oxygen, and add compost for nutrition.3. Hydrozone your Yard... The deeper the roots grow, the longer your When it comes to water, shrub areas need a grass can go between waterings. Even during thedifferent amount than the turf areas. Shrubs or turf dog days of the summer, your grass should be ableexposed to afternoon sun need more water than to easily go three to four days without needing water.those protected by the shade. Yet when it comes to If the roots are deep enough, you can water as littlewatering their yard, most people water everything the as once a week.same. We tend to put the same amount of water on 5. The Effects of Pressure on Irrigationthe turf as we do on the flower beds. Systems Separating different plant materials with Most of us experience the effects of pressuredifferent exposures so they may be watered from time to time -- at home, on the job, even on theindependent of one another is called hydrozoning. playing field. And just like people, irrigation systemsSince January of 2009, the rules of the Texas do not perform well when the pressure is too high.Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Most spray systems operate best with 30 pounds ofrequire all new irrigation systems to be hydrozoned. pressure per square inch (psi) at the nozzle.Applying only the amount of water required by the According to the Rain Bird Corporation, forplant material versus watering everything the same every five pounds of pressure over the recommendedcan save up to 21,300 gallons of water annually on operating pressure at the nozzle, your system willa typical residential lot. waste 6 percent to 8 percent of the irrigation water.4. Overspray – WHAT A WASTE! It is very common for a spray system to operate The TCEQ rules between 40 psi and 50 psi at the nozzle. Thisgoverning irrigation in Texas excessive pressure results in a waste of 16 percent todo not allow spraying water 29 percent of the water delivered through the system.over impervious surfaces such For a typical residential irrigation system, this wasteas walls, fences, sidewalks, and will be equivalent to 28,990 gallons to 52,500 gallonsstreets. The reason for this rule of water annually. This can usually be remedied byis simple – it just wastes water. adding some type of pressure regulation to yourIt may cost more to design and system. Consider having your irrigation systeminstall a system that does not evaluated by a Licensed Irrigator to determine howspray onto these surfaces, but in the long run, having you can conserve water wasted due to high pressurean efficient irrigation system that conserves our most at the nozzle.precious natural resource is worth it. Remember, when all is said and done… Here’s an example: if your sprinkler system irrigation systems don’t waste water – people do.(set to apply one inch of water) throws water over Pass Irrigation 101 with flying colors! Get acquaintedthe sidewalks during that cycle, it will waste around with – and take control of – your irrigation system220 gallons of water on your sidewalks. This water controller. Check the system regularly for leaks,will run down the concrete and into the gutter, or it broken heads, and tell-tale signs of overspray onwill run off into the soil where it will over-water the sidewalks, fences, or the street. Here’s a case wherearea and deep-percolate below the plant root zone ignorance is most definitely NOT bliss…what youwhere it is no longer useful. Either way, it is a waste don’t know about your irrigation system (how andof valuable water resources. when it works) can cost you money and waste valuable Another important point to consider is that water resources.  7
  8. 8. WATER PLANNING, Continued from page 5 agement strategies is estimated to be $53 billion. Thisstark wake-up call, revealing our vulnerability to includes conservation, drought management, newextended dry periods and delivering a sobering reservoirs, water reuse, and the introduction of newmessage: simply stated, looking ahead, we may not water treatment options like desalination plants. To ac-have adequate water resources to meet the needs of complish this, municipal water suppliers are expectedour residents. to need nearly $27 billion in state financial assistance. In compliance with regulatory agencies’ It is anticipated that water supply issues willmandates to convert hundreds of water districts from be assigned high priority during the 83rd Texasreliance on groundwater to surface water, water Legislative Session. Representative Allan Ritter (R-authorities in our region are collaborating with the City Nederland), Chair of the House Natural Resourcesof Houston to construct the Luce Bayou Project. Committee, has filed two important bills. House BillsThe project will eventually bring some 400 million 4 and 11 call for a one-time transfer of $2 billion fromgallons per day from the Trinity River into the City of the state’s “rainy day fund” (Economic StabilizationHouston’s Northeast Water Purification Plant at Lake Fund) to capitalize a new, dedicated revolving fundHouston, where it will be treated and delivered across to help pay for water-related infrastructure. On thethe region. Driving this project is the exceptional Senate side, Sen. Troy Fraser, chairman of the Senatepopulation growth experienced in our area. Committee on Natural Resources, has introduced Sen- Even with aggressive water conservation ate Bill 22 that, among other provisions, also calls formeasures, a number of the groundwater wells in the much needed $2 billion funding. This is significantthe area have reached the end of their useful lives, in that passage of such legislation would enable theaquifers are being depleted, and the area is already state to fund its long-range state water plan, and itexperiencing both water quality and water quantity also lays the groundwork for the fund’s managementissues. This makes the Luce Bayou Project a critical and operation.element of the State Water Plan for the multi-county The launching pad for this program is a Texasregion. Water Development Bond Amendment (Prop 2), The local water authorities do not have Ad which gained voter approval during the November 8,Valorem taxing power; so construction projects are 2011 general election. This amendment allows thepaid for by pumpage fees applied to wells within TWDB to authorize bonds on an ongoing basis so longtheir boundaries, surface water sales and the revenue as the dollar amount of bonds outstanding at any onebonds supported by those sources. This makes the time does not exceed $6 billion. These Prop 2 bondsfinancing programs available through the Texas Water are self-supporting (i.e., paid for through usage andDevelopment Board (TWDB) so essential to help with impact fees). They do not depend on or utilizeengineering and environmental studies, right of way general revenues.acquisition, and other preparation for construction. Making the tough decisions...The TWDB has funded a substantial amount of Invariably, time and adequate rainfall have athe Luce Bayou Project costs, and the Luce Bayou way of dulling our senses to the obvious. However,“partners” intend to seek additional state funds to help Mother Nature, like all moms, is relentless in remindingpay for the project. If Luce Bayou is NOT completed us of the consequences of indolence. And she’son time, there will be ripple effects across the multi- reminding us now. With just a handful of reservoirscounty area, impacting economic growth and the in some stage of planning or development – withfuture conversion to surface water. plenty of opposition lined up to delay or defeat their Recommendations... construction -- the state only has 188 major water The sixteen regional planning groups recom- supply reservoirs to rely on. More are needed.mended 562 unique water supply projects to meet The state’s 1961 planning effort to meetthe State’s projected needs for additional water sup- water requirements in 1980 included some insightfulplies. If implemented, these projects would result in advice: “If Texans cannot change the weather,an additional 9 million acre-feet per year by 2060 to they can at least, through sound, farsightedmeet the anticipated 8.3 million acre-feet planning, conserve and develop watershortfall. The capital cost to design, construct new resources to supply their needs.” Sound adviceprojects, or implement the recommended water man- indeed.  8
  9. 9. Harvesting the Rain Right from Your Roof Collecting rainwater for your garden is a smart idea; plantslike rainwater, because it’s naturally soft, and free of chemicals.If the area is hit with another drought, collecting rainwater is agood way to deal with watering restrictions. You may also find thathaving a rain barrel is a handy alternative to the garden hose whenit comes to watering container plants -- in hanging baskets or pots. It’s surprising how much water can be collected every timeit rains. Just a half inch of rain falling on a 1,000-square-foot roofwill yield 300 gallons of water! To get a quick idea how muchwater the roof of your own house might yield, here’s an example.For a modest-sized house, say 30 x 36 ft., with a typical 2 ft. roofoverhang, a half inch of rain would yield about 408 gallons ofwater. That’s enough to fill six standard-size rain barrels. Try it yourself! It used to be a lot more difficult to find good quality rainbarrels, and that meant relying on internet ‘shops’ with priceyshipping costs. Today, however, just about every garden and home improvement store has a selection ofthe handy containers at reasonable prices. Here’s what you need to set up your own rain harvesting system:1. Gutters and a Downspout. If you don’t already have rain gutters on your house, this one-timeinvestment will likely be the biggest related cost. High quality gutters can be rather expensive, but eventhe least-expensive gutter system will suffice.2. Rain Barrel. Select a rainwater container. They are usually made of heavy duty plastic and they comein several colors (e.g., dark green, gray or terra cotta) and can hold various amounts of water. If you wantto start small and keep it simple, consider a rain barrel with a water capacity of 40 to 80 gallons of water.If you have the space, several barrels can be set up in tandem. Prices vary, but most quality barrels areabout $100-$150 each.3. Debris Screen and Lid. A “downspout diverter” makes it easy to direct rainwater right into the storagetank. (Check local home improvement stores or the internet for these.) But before the water goes into therain barrel, it is important to use some kind of debris screen to filter out leaves, pine needles and otherdebris. If the debris isn’t filtered out, it will accumulate at the bottom of thetank and may clog up the outflow. A removable wire mesh screen is all that isreally needed, either mounted on top of the rain barrel or attached to the endof the downspout. A well-fitting lid is also important for safety (to keep petsand children out), and to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the water. 4. Distribution Device. For a rain barrel, all that’s needed is a standardspigot or short length of hose installed near the bottom of the barrel, with anon/off valve. Then let gravity do the work. A longer hose can be attachedto reach your garden, or just use the rain barrel’s spigot to fill watering cans. A downspout diverter, (see example, right), a popular Britishdevice that has been adapted to fit American drainspouts, comes in handywhen it is difficult to place the rain barrel directly in front of one. If your primary motivation is to collect rainwater for your garden, youdon’t need to worry about capturing every inch of rain that falls on your roof. But consider this: If you getabout 10-inches of rain over the course of the spring and summer, an average, 1,360-square-foot roofwould yield 8,160 gallons of rain water. You have to admit that whether you’re in a drought situation ornot, it’s hard to pass up that much of a free thing!  9
  10. 10. TOO MUCH...OR TOO LITTLE... RAINFALL CAN BE A PROBLEM! One of the key lessons we learned during this past yearof drought is that clean water is important to all of us; for ourhealth and well-being, and to sustain a healthy economy, too.Not only does it supply a habitat for marine life, but cleanwater provides recreational opportunities, drinking water forour homes, businesses and manufacturing, and even providesthe means to generate electricity. We also learned that old BenFranklin was right when he warned that we wouldn’t “knowthe worth of water until the well ran dry.” During this past yearwhen it didn’t rain, we stopped taking an adequate supply ofclean water for granted, and we paid more attention to thingsthat impact our water resources. Trouble in the streets... What do motor oil, lawn fertilizers, cigarette butts,grass clippings and pet waste all have in common? They allcontribute to what the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) warns is the number one threat to our drinking watersupplies... Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPSP). Today, theprimary source of oil pollution in North America’s coastalwaters isn’t leaking oil tankers or oil rigs, but can be trackedback to countless oil leaks from the more than 235 million carscurrently on the road. Drip, drop...cars make daily oil depositson roadways, parking lots and driveways and neighborhoodstreets. When it rains, stormwater falls on hard surfaces likeroads, roofs, driveways and parking lots. Since it cannot seepinto the ground, it runs off to lower areas, carrying with it globsand sheens of oil from paved surfaces into the storm drains...on to creeks and streams...then into bays and estuaries...andfinally into the Gulf of Mexico. Addressing a serious problem... Here are some more statistics about this sneaky kindof water pollution that might surprise you. Illegal dumping ofchemicals and toxic waste accounts for less than ten percent ofit. Forty percent of water pollution originates with automotivefluids washing off paved surfaces from normal rainfall andcleaning activities. Twenty five years ago, most of the “point-source”pollution -- the kind where the source was easily identified-- was virtually eliminated when industries and wastewatertreatment facilities cleaned up their discharge to public watersto comply with the Clean Water Act or face crippling fines. Making informed choices... So, what can be done to help arrest this growing threat 10
  11. 11. to our water supplies? Actually, quite a bit...and eventually into nearby streams and lakes.some of the measures help solve more than one The bigger picture...problem and are aesthetically pleasing, as well! Two thirds of the impervious surfaces inPerhaps the most important thing we can do is to developed communities are in the form of pavementlearn about NPSP and do whatever we can to stop related to automobile usage, so any design orit. This is not as difficult as one might assume and redevelopment options that reduce imperviousone simple ‘message’ sums it up: ONLY RAIN IN pavement is a positive step toward improvingTHE DRAIN! What goes into the storm drains ends water quality. Pervious options allow percolation orup -- untreated -- in our lakes, rivers and streams. infiltration of stormwater through the surface intoSo, good common sense dictates that we recycle or the soil below where the water is naturally filteredproperly dispose of household products that contain and pollutants are removed.chemicals, as well as insecticides, pesticides, paint, Substituting pervious pavements forsolvents, and -- most especially -- used motor oil. driveways, low-traffic roads, parking areas, sidewalks, Another persistent problem is the improper and residential pool decks and patios can make adisposal of pet waste. Americans own 75 million significant difference in reducing stormwater runoff;dogs and sadly, an estimated 40 percent of pet replenishing groundwater; reducing flooding; andowners don’t clean up their dogs’ “deposits” at reducing thermal pollution — the heat given off byhome or when they are out for a walk. Thanks pavement baking in the sun. Because of their opento major public information campaigns about structure, the pervious alternatives offer a “cooler”the impact of ‘pet poop’ on local steams and pavement choice. By replenishing water tableswaterways, people are getting the message from and aquifers rather than forcing rainfall into stormhomeowner associations and parks that if their dog sewers, the pervious choice can also help reducemakes a deposit in a public place, the owner has a demands on storm sewer systems.responsibility to scoop the poop and deposit it in When it rains...it’s porous!the trash or in receptacles provided. The technology is really quite simple. The secret to the success of pervious pavements is to provide the water with a place to go, often in the form of an underlying open-graded stone bed. As the water drains through the porous surface and into the stone bed, it slowly seeps into the soil. While these special features are generally more expensive than conventional impervious surface construction, the costs are more than offset by the ability to eliminate many elements of a standard stormwater management system. They say that “necessity is the mother of invention”. As water becomes more expensive, There is growing interest in residential options like installing porous pavements will prove“sustainable infrastructure techniques”. These to be more affordable and an important componenttechniques involve substituting alternatives to in sustainable water management strategies. areas traditionally covered by nonporous surfaces.Grasses and natural ground cover, for example,can be attractive and practical substitutes for paveddriveways, walkways, and patios. Consider constructing wooden decks, gravelor brick paths, and rock gardens to keep the naturalground cover intact and allow rainwater to slowlyseep into the ground. This acts as a natural filteringprocess and reduces harmful water quality impactfrom rainfall that carries chemicals and pollutantswith it into storm sewers and retention ponds, and 11
  12. 12. www.nfbwa.comc/o Allen Boone Humphries Robinson LLP 3200 Southwest Freeway, Suite 2600 Houston, Texas 77027 Take the 10 Gallon Water Conservation Challenge! Make a commitment to use water more efficiently! Water plays an important role in our lives...in fact, no living thing can survive without it! We can all learn to use water wisely. If each of us used just 10 gallons less each day, think of how much water we could save by the end of a week! or a month! or a year! It is amazing how fast the savings will add up!  Take shorter showers = 4-5 gallons per minute  ell an adult about a leaky faucet or “running” T toilet = repair will save 5 to 200 gallons a day Things to do...  se a broom instead of a water hose to U 1. ncourage your school E clean the driveway and sidewalks = 9 gallons per minute to Proclaim a Water  sk an adult to adjust the irrigation system A Conservation month. controller to water a maximum of twice a week – can save 2. ave a slogan contest and H up to 40 percent of the water used for this purpose. Turn make posters to put up system OFF during winter months – October – February around the school.  nly run the dishwasher with a full load = O 3. alculate how much water C 12 gallons per load your class/school can save  ait for a full load before running the washing W in a week, month, year. machine = up to 43 gallons per load 4. reate a calendar C  urn off the faucet while brushing teeth = T from students’ water 4 gallons per minute. conservation drawings. See how easy it will be to save 10 gallons a day! Source: www.SaveWaterTexas.com 12

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