Water, by the numbers

summer is here(Cue the sax for the Glenn Frey classic.)

The heat is on.

We’ve reached that point where we’re in the midst of our first consecutive triple-digit temperature days of the year. It happens every summer and when it does, we at the City think about water.

Numbers tell a lot of the water story, so let’s dip our toes into it with this:

  • Our highest water use day ever was Aug. 7, 2011, when we produced 42.05 million gallons
  • Our highest water use day this year was Wednesday, July 13, when we produced 30.6 million gallons

For those of you new to the area, 2010-2011 was the hottest, driest 12-month-period in Texas history.

The folks at our water treatment plant, who sweat these details for a living, note the impact of rainfall and temperature on water production.

Rainfall (inches)14.7546.96
Days with temperature above 100 degrees599
Annual Water Production (billions of gallons)8.7446.822
System Peak Day (millions of gallons) use42.0537.953


Other numbers you’ll want to familiarize yourself with are our block water rates. This time of year, the more water you use, the more expensive it gets.

Inclined Block Water Rates Chart_2016_1-13-16

Wondering what you can do to stay out of those upper tiers? Jessica Woods, our water conservation specialist, teamed up with Multimedia Specialist Brian Ligon (of Ron Pitchman fame) to create an award-winning series of Water Wise videos (15, to be exact) with plenty of helpful how-to’s.

Those some water conservation folks offer rebate programs to help you save even more water. Of course, we’ve got some numbers for you on this, too!

Toilet rebates are available to properties built prior to Jan. 1, 2006. We began the program in June 2010, and it has run off and on since then.

  • We’ve rebated a total of 1,003 people for 1,573 toilets
  • The average rebate is $77.85 per toilet
  • We estimate the new toilets result in about 4.7 million gallons of water saved annually!
  • $123,658.29 has been awarded in rebates since the start of this program.

Irrigation system upgrade rebates were implemented in June 2010. We haven’t had a ton of participation, simply because not everyone owns a sprinkler system and not everyone can afford to make upgrades. It’s also the program that’s the most involved (aka complicated).

  • To date have had 197 participants. Average rebate amount is $256.31. It’s hard to accurately estimate water savings.
  • This year has had the highest participation, with the majority of participants upgrading their irrigation system controller to weather-based controllers that automatically adjust their settings based on local weather conditions.
  • $47,094.70 has been awarded in rebates

Clothes washers account for 22 percent of water used in homes. We started this rebate program in December 2012.

  • So far, 291 new washers rebated
  • Average rebate is $81.70
  • Assuming the new efficient washer is replacing an old front-loading washer (and not another efficient washer), we estimate an annual water savings of 3.4 million to 3.9 million gallons of water a year! (Or 12,000-13,500 gallons per washer annually)
  • $23,775 has been awarded since the start of the program.

Rain Water Harvesting is a nice way to use what Mother Nature provides when it does rain, and folks do seem to love this program.

  • We have had 233 participants collecting a total of 61,267 gallons of water with each rain event!
  • The City has hosted six rain barrel sales the past four years, with 1,800 barrels sold. Not all of those who purchased barrels live in Round Rock, so we don’t have a big water savings number for this. Barrel capacity amounts range from 50 gallons to 200 gallons.
  • $20,881 has been awarded in rebates

Lawn Aeration promotes deeper root growth and helps reduce water runoff, both which help reducing the amount of water used on landscapes.

  • Super popular program with 412 participants in the first year!
  • $18,934 has been rebated since the start of the program.

Last, but certainly not least, we’ve got the numbers for the Irrigation System Evaluations that Jessica started on Aug. 7, 2009, shortly after she was hired.

  • She’s conducted a total of 767 evaluations on 842 controllers. (Some places have more than one controller). Seventy-five of those controllers were at non-residential properties.
  • If everyone she’s evaluated followed her recommendations on their watering schedule, we (the City) would save approximately 7.8 million gallons per month during the watering season! There’s a lot of overwatering happening.
  • Average reduction is 10,586 gallons per month per her recommendation
  • Biggest problem Jessica sees is overwatering of native plants, with people watering them just as much or even more than turf grass. Native plants can handle much less water, or even no water, compared to grass.

And if you’re a fan of blog posts (if you’re still reading this deep, you surely are!) be sure to keep up with The Water Spot, another great way Jessica helps us all with Round Rock’s No. 1 priority this time of year.