We know living in Texas, water conservation can be inherently more difficult during the summer months and that’s why the EPA and the Texas Water Development Board has published water savings tips that will not only show you how to help conserve water, but also help you conserve cost.
Maximize the use of natural vegetation and establish smaller lawns. For portions of your lot where a lawn and landscaping are desired, ask your local nursery for tips about plants and grasses with low water demand (such as creeping fescue). Consider planting more trees, shrubs, ground covers, and less grass. Shrubs and ground covers provide greenery for much of the year and usually demand less water. Use native plants in flower beds. Native plants have adapted to rainfall conditions in Texas and often provide good wildlife habitat. Cluster plants that require extra care together to minimize time and save water.
When mowing your lawn, set the mower blades to 2-3 inches high. Longer grass shades the soil improving moisture retention, has more leaf surface to take in sunlight, allowing it to grow thicker and develop a deeper root system. This helps grass survive drought, tolerate insect damage and fend off disease.
Only water the lawn when necessary. If you water your lawn and garden, only do it once a week, if rainfall isn’t sufficient. Avoid watering on windy and hot days. Water the lawn and garden in the morning or late in the evening to maximize the amount of water which reaches the plant roots (otherwise most of the water will evaporate). Use soaker hoses to water gardens and flower beds. If sprinklers are used, take care to be sure they don’t water walkways and buildings. When you water, put down no more than 1 inch (set out an empty cans to determine how long it takes to water 1 inch) each week. This watering pattern will encourage more healthy, deep grass roots. Over-watering is wasteful, encourages fungal growth and disease, and results in the growth of shallow, compacted root systems that are more susceptible to drought and foot traffic. If an automatic lawn irrigation system is used, be sure it has been properly installed, is programmed to deliver the appropriate amount and rate of water, and has rain shut-off capability.
Apply mulch around shrubs and flower beds to reduce evaporation, promote plant growth and control weeds.
Add compost or an organic matter to soil as necessary, to improve soil conditions and water retention.
Collect rainfall for irrigation in a screened container (to prevent mosquito larvae growth).
When washing a car, wet it quickly, then use a bucket of water to wash the car. Turn on the hose to final rinse (or let mother nature wash your car when it rains).
Always use a broom to clean walkways, driveways, decks and porches, rather than hosing off these areas.
Be ready for hurricane season. Today you can determine your personal hurricane risk, find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone, and review/update insurance policies. You can also make a list of items to replenish hurricane emergency supplies and start thinking about how you will prepare your home for the coming hurricane season. If you live in hurricane-prone areas, you are encouraged to complete these simple preparations before hurricane season begins on June 1.
Find out today what types of wind and water hazards could happen where you live, and then start preparing how to handle them. Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. impacts from wind and water can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur regardless of the storm’s strength. Know if you live in an area prone to flooding and if you’re safe to remain in your home.
Find out if you live in a hurricane evacuation zone. You may also need to leave if you live in a flood prone area or in a mobile home outside a hurricane evacuation zone. Now is the time to begin planning where you would go and how you would get there.
You do not need to travel hundreds of miles. Your destination could be a friend or relative who lives in a well built home outside flood prone areas. Remember, your safest place may be to remain home. Be sure to account for your pets in your plan.
As hurricane season approaches, listen to local officials on questions related to how you may need to adjust any evacuation plans based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and your local officials.
Whether you’re evacuating or sheltering-in-place, you’re going to need supplies not just to get through the storm but for the potentially lengthy and unpleasant aftermath. Have enough non-perishable food, water and medicine to last each person in your family a minimum of 3 days (store a longer than 3-day supply of water, if possible). Electricity and water could be out for at least that long. You’ll need extra cash, a battery-powered radio and flashlights. You may need a portable crank or solar-powered USB charger for your cell phones.
If you need to go to a public shelter, follow health guidelines from your local officials and the CDC.
Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough insurance to repair or even replace your home and/or belongings. Remember, home and renters insurance doesn’t cover flooding, so you’ll need a separate policy for it.
Flood insurance is available through your company, agent, or the National Flood Insurance Program at floodsmart.gov. Act now, as flood insurance requires a 30-day waiting period.
Whether you’re evacuating, or planning to ride out the storm in your home, make sure it is in good repair and up to local hurricane building code specifications to withstand wind impacts. Many retrofits are not as costly or time consuming as you may think.
Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.
If you’re a renter, work with your landlord now to prepare your home for a storm.
Many people rely on their neighbors before and after a disaster, and there are many ways you can help them. Learn about all the different actions you and your neighbors can take to prepare and recover from the hazards associated with hurricanes.
Start the conversation now with these Neighbor Helping Neighbor strategies but remember you may need to adjust your preparedness plans based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC and your local officials.
The time to prepare for a hurricane is before the season begins, when you have the time and are not under pressure. If you wait until a hurricane is on your doorstep, the odds are that you will be under duress and will make the wrong decisions.
Take the time now to write down your hurricane plan. Know who issues evacuation orders for your area, determine locations on where you will ride out the storm, and start to get your supplies now. Being prepared before a hurricane threatens makes you resilient to the hurricane impacts of wind and water. It will mean the difference between being a hurricane victim or a hurricane survivor.
All MUD 208 customers have smart meters and are able to access their water usage data online. Once registered for an online account, customers can view usage and receive leak alerts. With this feature, if water is flowing continuously for 24 hours at a customer specified rate, say 10 gallons per hour, the customer is notified by a text and/or email that their household has a leak. Once a 24-hour period goes by with water flow less than the specified value, an alert is sent that the leak has stopped. After an online account is set up, a smart phone app will be available to access data from your phone. Here are sign-up instructions:
Please DO NOT flush non-toilet paper items. Flushing wipes, paper towels and similar products down toilets can clog sewers and cause backups/overflows into homes, onto streets, down storm drains, wastewater treatment facilities and ultimately into local waterways. Thus creating an additional public health risk in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
With many following the recommendations of health officials to clean and sterilize frequently touched surfaces in the home such as counter tops, faucets and door knobs, there has been a surge in backed-up sewer lines as people discard used disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, napkins, paper towels and other paper products into the toilet. Unfortunately, these items are not designed to and do NOT disintegrate like toilet paper. The result is clogged sewer lines and backed up, overflowing toilets. To avoid back-ups and overflows, ONLY FLUSH TOILET PAPER.
Consumer Reports notes that companies currently advertise their wipes with terms like “safe for sewers and septic”, or promise that the product will “break up like toilet paper”. But this is simply not the case, “Flushable wipes are a consumer’s dream come true but every plumber’s nightmare,” Did you know it only takes a few of those wipes to get hung up in your sewer line before you have to call the plumber and pay hundreds of dollars to have your pipes snaked.
The question comes down to how quickly a “flushable” product breaks down in water. Consumer Reports tested many of the leading brands of toilet paper and “flushable” wipes and concluded that all of the wipes completely failed the disintegration test, while even the strongest, thickest toilet papers squeaked by with a low passing grade.
So, it’s pretty simple, just keep inappropriate items (disinfectant wipes, baby wipes, napkins, paper towels, etc.) out of your toilet and out of the sewer system. This not only can save you hundreds of dollars, but keeping wipes out of the main sewer lines could save your utility district thousands of dollars.
For the sake of your plumbing, dispose of wipes in the trash can. Remember keep those wipes out of the pipes, don’t believe the hype! Flush only the 3 P’s Pee, Poo and toilet Paper.