Water Conservation Knowledge Is Power

texas a&m agrilife research

DESOTO — A person can’t live without water. A city can’t function properly without water. Residents in the Best Southwest can learn more about water conservation efforts closer to home.

The City of DeSoto has teamed up with Texas A&M University to offer classes taught by members of the Water University team.

“The City of DeSoto Public Utilities Department extends an open invitation to citizens in the Best Southwest cities to attend water conservation classes during the Spring, Summer, and Fall,” said Tonya Warren, Assistant Director, Public Utilities.

Upcoming classes will take place July 23 and August 13, 2018. The free seminar will feature speakers from the Water University team. These water resource professionals from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service are experienced in research and outreach programming on water quality, efficiency and watershed planning.

Water Conservation Education Initiative

“The Water University team has strong working partnerships with local governments and state and federal agencies to develop programs addressing water quantity and quality issues,” Warren explained.

In 2016, the Public Utilities Department sought to identify local experts in the field of water conservation to support the City Council’s Public Education Work Plan Initiative. This will help to educate and inform citizens on the factors that cause unwanted increases in water consumption and offer ways to minimize consumption.

“The Water University division of Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension was found to have a comprehensive array of educational programs encompassing topics related to water use efficiency, landscape water conservation, and irrigation efficiency,” Warren said.

The classes provide timely, relevant, and practical information about landscaping options that add aesthetic value to the home and have the potential of reducing monthly water bills. In some households, as much as 60% of the total water budget could go to landscape irrigation during the summer months,

“The Public Utilities staff visited the campus at The Dallas Center and toured the WaterSense labeled home. The home is a joint project by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Texas A&M Agrilife Water University,” Warren recalls. “Based on our interactions and discussions with the Water University staff and other cities in the DFW metroplex engaged in similar programs, the Public Utilities staff has developed a working relationship with Texas A&M Agrilife Research and Extension. This brings expert knowledge and experience about efficient use of water to our citizens.”

Future Drought Concerns

Water conservation is not solely a concern just for DeSoto residents, but for the entire state.

“Conservation efforts address not only short-term water needs, but also future demands for water,” Warren said. “The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) prepares, adopts and publishes a State Water Plan every five years. TWDB research revealed the worst one-year drought in the recorded history of Texas occurred in 2011.”

According to the 2017 State Water Plan, Texas’ population will increase more than 70% between 2020 and 2070. This in turn will cause water demand to increase by approximately 17% between 2020 and 2070.

At the same time, experts estimate a decline in the existing water supply by approximately 11% between 2020 and 2070. This translates to a potential water shortage. Texas’ water supply consists of surface water, groundwater and reuse water.

“Water conservation is fundamental to the planning process for the future. This, along with other strategies, will aid in ensuring adequate and affordable water supplies are available for all Texans in times of drought,” Warren adds.

Class Registration Is Now Online

Surveys from previous years are a large determining factor in scheduling Water University classes. Afterwards, each class Texas A&M officials survey results.

“All classes have been well attended,” Warren said. “The most popular class to-date has been Vegetable Gardening, with 52 participants. The class allows citizens to interact with local landscape and master gardener experts. They learn various techniques to maintain beautiful lawns throughout the year.”

Most classes range in size between 20 to 40 participants. Upcoming classes will include Gardening for Wildlife, Butterfly Gardening, Weeds and Watering, Texas Trees, DIY Rain Barrel and Foodscaping.

The Public Utilities Department arranges for three to four classes each year.

The class registration form can be found at  http://www.desototexas.gov/1769/Water-Conservation-Classes

Classes will be in the City of DeSoto Council Chambers, 211 E. Pleasant Run Rd, DeSoto, TX 75115

July 23: 6:30pm – 8:30pm; Water U Doing: Water Efficient Sprinklers

August 13: 6:30pm – 7:30pm; Pots in Small Spots: Container Gardening