Outdoor Watering



June 2024 – New Watering Rules are in Effect Year Round

The City’s Water Conservation and Drought  Contingency Plans have been updated as of June 13, 2024.  As part of these updates, Round Rock implemented year-round water use rules.  These rules will be in place when no specific drought stage is in effect. 

Stage 1 Drought Restrictions were lifted on June 13th; however the new year round measures are now in place.  Water customers of the city will see no change in the outdoor water use schedule.

Year round water use standards apply to all Round Rock water customers, including several Municipal Utility Districts (MUDs) outside the City limits. View the Round Rock Water Service Area Map.

Outdoor watering is allowed two days per week based on the Watering Schedule and must occur before 10:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m.  See schedule here.

Over-watering results in shallow roots and encourages weeds, disease, and fungus growth!  Yikes!  Also, did you know that the more you water your lawn, the more it becomes dependent on that water?

As much as 50 percent of water used outdoors is lost due to wind, evaporation, and runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.

General Watering Tips

Landscape can (and should) tolerate some stress, this helps build up its drought tolerance.

An easy way to see if your lawn needs water is to look at it first thing in the morning.  If the grass blade is tall, straight, and the leaf is open, like in the picture to the right, then no water is needed.

  • Water before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Evaporation losses are up to 60% higher during the heat of the day.
  • Avoid watering on windy days as most of the water will be blown elsewhere. Wind speeds tend to be lower when the sun is down–another reason to water at night.
  • Summer – no more than twice per week, if needed.
  • Spring/Fall – every 10-14 days if no rainfall has occurred.
  • Winter – only water in a drought situation.  Winter is not a growing season, plants are dormant, so usually no additional water is needed.
  • Water grass to a depth of 4-6″, this allows roots to grow deeper which increases its drought tolerance.
  • It only takes 1/2″ of water to penetrate to this depth. To determine how long it takes to water 1/2″  watch this video.
  • Drip and soaker hoses or individual spray emitters are ideal for keeping water close to the roots, rather than spraying into the air and on the leaves.
    moisture meter
  • A soil moisture meter or long screwdriver can be used to determine how dry soil is in flowerpots, garden beds. Push the tool into the ground (if you can!) and feel how wet the soil is.  Ideally you should be able to push it 6-inches deep.
  • A hose timer can be used on your garden hose to set how long you want it to run.  When the time ends, the hose timer stops water from coming out of the hose, however, you’ll still need to turn the water off at the spigot. 

Automatic Irrigation Systems

Typical irrigation systems use between 500 – 5,000+ gallons of water with each use!

This large range is based on yard size, soil type, water pressure, type of sprinkler heads, and run-time (to name a few!).  This makes it difficult to provide a one size fits all answer for how much water it takes to water your yard.

We do have help for you!  Check out the Water My Yard program (below) or schedule a free irrigation check, where our conservation staff come over to your home to provide watering advice.

Ever wonder “When should I water my yard?” or “How long do I run each zone?”

The City has partnered with LCRA and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension to help answer those questions! The Water My Yard program will provide recommendations on how long to run irrigation systems efficiently, while maintaining healthy lawns.

The program uses your property address, specific irrigation system information that you’ll input, and local weather data to recommend irrigation runtimes. Fill out the online form to receive weekly email or text messages about watering recommendations.    

To register, visit WaterMyYard.org. You will need to answer questions about your specific irrigation system and landscape. 

Water My Yard can be accessed online at WaterMyYard.org or via the free phone app.  There is no charge for this service; however it is only available for direct City of Round Rock water customers.

  • Check for available irrigation rebates.
  • Get the most out of your system – schedule a Free Irrigation System Evaluation or use these instructions.
  • Water when the sun is not out; best time is before sunrise.
  • Use multiple start times, or cycle and soak settings. Our clay soils cannot absorb water quickly.
  • Schedule watering for each zone separately – remember shady areas can run for shorter times than full sun areas.
  • Turn off tree bubblers after the 2 years.
  • Turn system off prior to a rain event. Leave off for several days if more than 1/2 an inch of rain.
  • Consider WaterSense labeled weather or soil moisture sensor-based controllers that automatically adjust the watering schedule based on weather or soil moisture conditions. The City’s Irrigation Rebate covers half the cost – check eligibility.
  • Follow these water tips and irrigation schedules to help lower your water bill.
  • Adjust water schedule seasonally:
    • Summer – no more than twice per week, when needed
    • Spring/Fall – 1/2 of the summer schedule (once per week, as needed)
    • Winter – turn system off and water manually if needed. Leaving it on increases your utility bill all year.

Are you a new homeowner in Round Rock*?  Have an irrigation system for the first time?  Confused by it all?

City water conservation staff can come over to show (and teach) you about certain water features of your new home, such as:

  • location of your water meter;
  • location of homeowner water shut-off;
  • the home irrigation system (sprinklers) components and how to use the irrigation controller;
  • minor landscape issues (type of soil, grass, native plants); and
  • determine how many gallons are used with your current watering schedule;
  • provide a recommended watering schedule;
  • make recommendations if any system upgrades are needed;
  • potentially more!

Please note staff will not make repairs.

*You must be a direct water customer of the City of Round Rock to qualify for this visit.  If you’re a direct City water customer (sorry, MUD customers are not eligible), schedule a free irrigation system evaluation by contacting Jessica Woods via email or at 512-671-2872.  

The most common irrigation controller types are Hunter (Pro-C, X-Core) or Rain Bird ESP series.  Need help setting up one of these? Follow my instructions:

Do you have a leak in your irrigation system, or think you do? 

  1. Check your water meter to see if there is continuous flow through the meter.  Where’s your water meter?  Learn here
  2.   To determine if the leak is in the irrigation system or on the house water line, watch the video below to learn where and how to turn off water to the system at your backflow prevention device.
  3. Once the backflow is turned off, look at the water meter again.  If the flow has stopped then the leak is part of the irrigation system.  (If the meter is still showing flow, the leak is on the mainline going to your house.  The leak could be underground on the mainline or inside the home.)
  4. Time to call a Licensed Irrigator.

Water Wise Landscaping

  • Don’t Cut Grass Too Short; If the lawnmower is set higher, the longer grass can help shade the ground, hold moisture longer and help to fight off heat.  Don’t cut more than 1/2 of the leaf blade off at a time.
  • Ideal heights for grasses are:  St. Augustine grass 2-3″, Bermuda 1.5-2″, Zoysia 1.5-2″ and Buffalo 2-3″.
  • Reuse Grass Clippings; Leaving the grass clippings on the ground can serve as mulch and fertilizer all-in-one.  And it’s free!
  • Use mulch wherever possible around trees, in shrub beds, even potted plants, mulching to a depth of 3-6″. 
  • You do not want to mulch to be mounded next to the trunk of the plant, often called “volcano mulching.”  It should be more saucer shaped so water will not run off or away from the plant.  A flat mat of mulch allows the water to sink in.
  • Since mulch breaks down, it should be applied annually.  
  • City of Round Rock water customers can pick up free mulch at our Brush Recycling Center.  Be sure to take a copy of your water bill with you when you go!
  • Mulch also prevents weed growth, retains water, and insulates the soil and plant during cooler months.
  • See the video below about proper use of mulch.
  • Overseeding with rye, or other cool season grass, is not recommended, due to the increased water use.  
  • These grasses tend to compete with your warm season grass for nutrients in the soil.  This weakens the warm season grass (St. Augustine, bermuda, etc.) which may then require fertilizing and additional watering.
  • Williamson County AgriLife Extension Office gave a great Winter Storm Recovery presentation on assessing trees, perennials, and the irrigation system after a freeze.  Find the recorded webinar and other helpful information here.  
  • Howard Garrett (aka The Dirt Doctor) had a very good article called Responding to Freeze Damage that focus’s on trees and woody plants.  Find that here
  • GardenVille–make their own soil, mulch, and compost. Nearest location is Georgetown.
  • Texas A&M AgriLife Extension provides research and expertise on soils, landscaping, and gardening among other topics.

Outdoor Watering Schedule

Stage 1 Restrictions have been enacted since June 29, 2022. In Stage 1, outdoor watering is allowed two days per week based on the last digit of your address and must occur BEFORE 10:00 a.m. or AFTER 7:00 p.m

The watering days are based on the last number of your address and are spread out over seven days to balance water usage throughout the week.

The best time to water is early morning, before the sun rises. 

Outdoor Watering Schedule 

Address Ends inStage 1
Twice per Week 
Stage 2
Once per Week 
0Monday / ThursdayThursday
1Wednesday / SaturdayWednesday
2Tuesday / FridayTuesday
3Monday / ThursdayMonday
4 or 8Sunday / ThursdaySunday
5 or 9Wednesday / SaturdaySaturday
6 or 7Tuesday / FridayFriday

Drought Stages:

  • Stage 1 – Watering is allowed on TWO designated days and must occur before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • Stage 2 – Watering is allowed on ONE designated day and must occur before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • Stage 3 – Only hand-held watering allowed.

Contact Information

Water Conservation

Jessica Woods
Phone: 512-671-2872
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