lake georgetown

Imagine a Day Without Water

We use water every day for almost every single activity in our lives. The City of Round Rock Water Utility participates in Imagine a Day Without Water to remind residents of the importance of water in our everyday lives. In this blog, I would like to highlight some important processes that water goes through to get to you! Learning about your water’s journey will help you understand the importance of conserving water.

Water shortages seem farfetched in economically prosperous cities like ours, but the problem is immanent everywhere. It might be hard to imagine a day without water because that concept seems so foreign to us!

Fresh water in cities must meet peak demand for millions of people every day. Infrastructure for clean water and wastewater must be kept up to standards and safe for the public. These are very important parts of our drinking water system that most people fail to recognize and take for granted. I was one of those people before I started learning about water conservation. That is why we want to educate as many people as we can so that everyone can understand the importance of water and work together to save it!

Our Main Water Source

Between 12-35 million gallons of water is pumped out of Lake Georgetown a day! Can you guess what time of year we use the highest amount of water?  Summer! Water demand spikes as lawn irrigation increases.

 

 

 

 

Our Water Treatment Plant                                                                                                                      

This important infrastructure turns the water that comes from Lake Georgetown into safe and clean drinking water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Water to You

There are miles and miles of pipes that bring water from Lake Georgetown. This hidden infrastructure carries water to the water treatment plant, water towers, your home, and the wastewater treatment plant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Waste Water Treatment Plant

Everything that goes down a drain including sinks, toilets, washers, shows, tubs, and more end up here! Wastewater is turned into clean water through many sanitation processes. This water will be returned to Brushy Creek or sent to our reuse water customers.

 

 

 

Now that you have learned a little bit about our city’s water system, it is time to act! Participate in Imagine a Day Without Water by checking out our information booth at the Round Rock library  through the entire month of October! We will provide information and goodies about how to keep our water clean, abundant, and healthy.

Residents of all ages are invited to participate in the City of Round Rock’s Imagine a Day Without Water Art Contest! This fun and creative activity can help raise awareness on the importance of water in our everyday lives. Posters will be judged on artistry, creativity, originality, and the ability to communicate the importance of water in our everyday lives.

Click on the flyer for to join!

 

Lake Georgetown: Go See!

wildflowers at Lake Georgetown April 2015

wildflowers

The weather has been hit or miss so far this spring for getting a little spring cleaning yard work done, but I’m not going to complain about the wet weekends!!  The wildflowers have been gorgeous (check out my pictures) AND the rain has meant we haven’t had to turn on our sprinklers yet this year, which is great.

Even though we’ve had some pretty consistent rain, the lake levels haven’t come up too much.  Lake Georgetown (Round Rock’s main water source) is holding pretty steady at 64% full.  It’s a little higher than it was last year at this time, but still, not full!  Lake Stillhouse Hollow has come up a little with the recent rain, is at 67% full.

If you haven’t been to Lake Georgetown in a while, I encourage you to go.  It’s not too far, I drove over to take these pictures for this article. (What can I say, it was a nice day and I needed a current picture!)  Simply take IH-35 north tLake Georgetown flower pico the HWY 29 exit in Georgetown, head west (turn left at light).  Turn Right onto DB Woods road and follow the signs to the scenic overlook or one of the many parks in the area.  It’s great to actually see your drinking water source in person AND the area has a lot to offer recreation-wise!

On the picture that actually shows the lake, the portion I’ve circled is a screen on an intake pipe.  This is basically like the City’s straws that are in the lake, sucking the water up and transporting it to our water treatment plant.  The screen is what keeps out fish, trash, and other large debris from entering into the treatment plant.  This is supposed to be underwater!  That gives you an idea how low it is.

Lake Georgetown edited April 2015

City water intakes at Lake Georgetown

Because of the continuing low lakes levels, the Brazos River Authority has asked that all users of these lakes reduce their water use, so that’s why Round Rock and Georgetown have enacted their Drought Contingency Plans for the last year and a half.  We are still under Stage 1 watering restrictions.  This means if and when you water your yard, it can only happen on your assigned water days:

  • For odd addresses, that’s Wednesday and Saturday.
  • For even addresses, that’s Thursday and Sunday.
  • No automatic irrigation is permitted between 10am – 7pm on any day.
  • Watering by hand allowed any day, at any time.
skink at LG

skink

Remember, when setting your sprinkler controller for the spring, it’s best to start low and slow; watering once per week or less is plenty for this time for year.  When it starts to actually get hot, then increase the times.

Need more detailed information about the water restrictions?  Visit the City website: www.roundrocktexas.gov/departments/utilities-and-environmental-services/water/drought-restrictions/

Water Restrictions in Effect

Well, if you hadn’t yet heard, the City is now under mandatory water restrictions!  I am personally not a fan of the word “mandatory” as it elicits the repsonse that you now have to do something…in this case water your yard.  This is a constant struggle, when to use the “M” word and when not to. Too many times, mandatory water restrictions cause water use to increase in a community or town. That’s exactly what we don’t want to happen! Folks think that since it’s their day to water, they’d better do it, or else it’s x many days before they have the opportunity to water again.  But, hopefully, common sense will prevail…especially with all the rain this week!

With the cooling temperatures, onset of Autumn, and regular rainfall, twice per week watering is more than enough.  Qlake_georgetownuite frankly, it’s too much for many areas like native plants beds and shady turf areas.  Of course, hand-watering is permitted at any time for any area that may need some extra help.  Properties that use rainwater to irrigate with are exempt from the water restrictions; so that’s another good reason to collect and use rainwater!

We have been asked why it has taken Round Rock “so long” to enact mandatory restrictions, which isn’t an easy or quick answer.  It stems from a variety of factors, with the two main ones being:  1. our Drought Contingency Plan (in Chapter 44) states that the City will enter into Stage 1 when Lake Georgetown reaches a level of 770′, currently the lake is at 773′, so we still haven’t met the first criteria for restrictions;  2. Our overall City monthly water usage has been low this year, much lower than use in 2012 or 2011, or 2009. We’ve seen monthly usage very similar to 2010, which was a wet year.  This means our customers (our residences) have already been using water efficiently at their properties.

So, if you choose to water once the rain has all passed, you may hand-water at any time you choose.  Homes with an even address water days are Thursdays and Sundays; homes with an odd-address are Wednesdays and Saturdays.  All commercial and multifamily properties days are Tuesdays and Fridays.  No irrigation is allowed between 10am – 7pm.

The photo is Lake Georgetown, Round Rock’s main water source.