rain water

Hold Off on Sprinklers!

Round Rock and many parts of Central Texas have received several inches of rain in the months of May and June. Make sure to take advantage of all this rain either by keeping those sprinkler systems off or by collecting rainwater!  

There is no need for additional water while we are still receiving rain and cool temperatures. In fact, too much water can hurt your landscape and grass rather than benefit it. Watering too soon before or after a rain event can drown roots and deplete the soil of oxygen. Too much water can cause a fungus infection and draws in more insects like pesty mosquitos. It also will not help your landscape become drought tolerant either! Rain plus extra irrigation keeps plants dependent on heavy amounts of water which means they will not grow their roots deeper to find water. Come summertime, your grass will not be used to only irrigation and zero rainfall.

There are several ways to make sure you do not water your landscape while we have plenty of rain. You can simply keep your sprinkler system turned off and wait until there is no rain for a few weeks and when temperatures increase before you turn it back on. You should also have a rain sensor installed at your property in case you forget to turn off your system. Rain sensors work by sending a signal to the sprinkler system and shuts it off when rain is present. However, rain sensors do not predict if rain is coming so you will need to keep an eye on the weather to make sure you do not water before a storm.

On the other hand, there are several weather-based controllers that use nearby weather stations and adjust your schedule according to the weather and other environmental factors. Rain sensors and weather based controllers are proven to save water so we encourage our water customers to use them by incentivizing with rebates!

Round Rock Conservation Rebate Program

You can also take advantage of all the rain that falls onto your property by collecting it. This water can be used in the future when rain amounts start to diminish and temperatures increase. Rainwater has several benefits! For starters, rain is free and will save you money by not using treated clean tap water for outdoor use. Rainwater also provides nutrients to plants and acts like a natural fertilizer. It has nitrogen, organic matter and is free of salts and minerals which is easier on plants.

Not only is rainwater a great source of nutrients for plants, but it is also super easy to collect too! You would be surprised how fast a 50 gallon tank fills up – sometimes with just one day of rain. This water can sustain a collection of potted plants for months! In fact, we know a of a family who has two large 1000 gallon tanks that are used to water their vegetable garden all year long. There are several possibilities and options when it comes to rainwater harvesting that fit everyone’s needs and desires. Even though we are not hosting a rain barrel sale at the moment, it is still a great time to purchase one and receive a rebate! We promote rainwater harvesting to help save way and for the environmental benefits they provide plants.

Make sure to check out our water conservation rebate page for information on local rebate opportunities on rain sensors, weather based controllers, rainwater harvesting systems and more: https://www.roundrocktexas.gov/departments/utilities-and-environmental-services/water/conservation/rebates/



Catch the rain before it’s gone!

Once again, the huge amount of rains in the last weeks have made me think a lot about how to take more advantage of rainwater, or really, just collect more.

Which leads me to a question I was asked once that was along the lines of “I feel like I should be collecting rainwater, but don’t have any plants to water. Why should I do it?” It’s true, rainwater is so much better for your plants than the municipal water supply (it’s generally higher in nitrogen and it’s softer water), which probably is THE main reason people collect it. However, an often overlooked, just as good reason is for erosion control. You don’t have to actually “use” the water collected, but if you could at least slow it down on your property; that would aid in reducing the amount of erosion your property is subjected to.

An easy visualization of this is the divots or valleys along the sides of a house where the rain pours off the roof and bangs into the ground-typically if you don’t have gutters. See the picture on the right–it’s VERY obvious where the water lands when it runs off the roof. Where does the soil go that used to occupy that space? Well, it gets carried off down into the street, into the storm water system, which flows into our creeks. By the way, this water isn’t cleaned or treated; it doesn’t go to the wastewater plant.

So, if that water can be slowed down, or stopped, that’s less soil that will be robbed from your yard each time it rains. You can collect the water and then just release it, slowly, over your yard a few days after the rain event. Then the barrel(s) is empty and ready to collect the next rain event and you don’t have any worries about mosquitoes!

Two more good reasons for collecting rainwater include:

1. It’s free and 2. Tax-exempt! The water falling from the sky is free, and the purchase of collection containers has been tax-exempt in Texas since 2001.

To assist you with collecting this precious resource, the City of Round Rock has a rebate for installing water collection tanks or barrels. (This rebate is available for direct City of Round Rock water customers only.)  Round Rock is also having a rainbarrel sale that is going on currently until November 9, 2014:

Three sizes of rain barrels are being offered:

  • 50-gallon Spring Saver, 6 color choices, $64.99
  • 54-gallon Rain Saver, 3 color choices, $84.99
  • Classic 100-gallon, 28 colors, $208.65
  • Also water diverter kits for $15.99 or $21

The barrels will be distributed on Friday, November 14th and Saturday, November 15th at the Dell Diamond NE parking lot.  This is located behind the Prosperity Bank.  To order barrels, go to http://www.cityrainbarrelprogram.org/  You do not have to be a City of Round Rock water customer or resident to purchase any of these products.  There is no limit to how many you can purchase.

All the details to both of these City programs can be found at www.roundrocktexas.gov/waterconservation

Rain Barrel Sale Going on Now

The City’s Water Conservation Program is having a rain barrel sale!  The barrels being sold are being supplied from a different company than the last sales.  These barrels are made in Austin, so a little more local.  Available for this event are three different sizes (capacity) of barrels and a rainspout diverter.  The pre-sale is open now for barrels to be purchased online.

Barrel Descriptions:

  • The 50-gallon Springsaver barrel has a compact design with a flat back, to nestle up close to the side of your house. It’s available in 6 color choices and being sold for $64.99.
  • The 54-gallon Rainsaver barrel looks like a traditional barrel and is available in 3 color choices. It’s being sold for $84.99.
  • The Classic 100-gallon barrel is lined on its interior to prevent mold and algae growth. They are available in 28 colors and being sold for $208.65.
  • The Downspout Diverter system allows you to divert water from your gutter downspouts without have to cutoff the downspout. Two different models are available at $15.99 and $21.00.  These aren’t pictured here.

The ordered barrels and diverters will be distributed on Friday, November 14th and Saturday, November 15th at the Northeast parking lot of the Dell Diamond (this is the parking area behind the bank).

Barrels purchased at this event ARE eligible for the City’s rainwater rebate.  There will be applications for the rebate provided on the distribution date, or you can get it online.  You must be a direct City of Round Rock water customer in order to receive the rebate.  You do not have to be a City water customer in order to purchase the barrels or downspout diverters though.

There is no limit to how many barrels you can purchase, or what combination of barrel sizes or colors you purchase.  To order or for specific questions regarding the barrel specifications, visit the program website at cityrainbarrelprogram.org

I’m compelled to remind you that rainwater is the best choice for watering plants with, as it’s full of nutrients the plants can use better than treated tap water; the main one being nitrogen.  Think of how green and lush everything looks after a good downpour!

I hope to see you at the Dell Diamond in November!