OUR ADVICE: It’s time to face the facts | Editorials

At the Weatherford Democrat, we weren’t at all surprised to learn recently that water consumption was skyrocketing across Texas. According to Barbara Brown of Denton County Master Gardeners, recent studies have found that nearly 50% of water use in North Central Texas is for single family residences with a large increase in use in the summer for water our lawns and landscape plants.

More and more people are flocking to the counties surrounding Dallas/Fort Worth. A vast system of aquifers that stretches south through Dallas, Waco, Austin and San Antonio is where most of the water comes from to support the population explosion we’ve seen in Texas over the past few years. last 40 years. We are using far more water than ever before, to allow 15 million people to live in a region that is too hot and too dry to support them for more than a century or so — at most.

Worsening droughts and heat waves affecting Texas and the rest of the West are complicating matters. Excessive heat is also evaporating surface waters – ponds, reservoirs, spring-fed lakes and the like – at an increasing rate. Whether or not you believe in climate change, you can look out the window and see these effects for yourself.

There are also animals to think about. Humans are competing with livestock for water at rates not seen in this region. Water tables are falling, grasses are drying up and herders are selling more of their herds than they would like due to rising feed costs – all because there is not enough water to grow enough hay and grass to support normal herd levels.

According to Brown, we have three choices: build more reservoirs, modify existing infrastructure, or – heaven forbid – conserve far more than we currently do. Conservation seems to be the cheapest and least disruptive solution.

What to do?

Before calling us a den of greens and alarmists, take a moment to think about the problem.

The Upper Trinidad Regional Water District reports that “more than 50% of the landscape’s water is wasted due to overwatering, inefficient watering practices, and broken or poorly maintained irrigation systems. “.

“To optimize the performance of an irrigation system, owners should regularly check the heads for breakage, clogging or missing heads. Check water pressure and coverage at each head. You may want to hire a certified irrigation inspector to check components which should include the isolation and drain valve, discharge and zone devices, sensors and control panel,” according to Brown .

She goes on to recommend selecting plants that are water-smart, meaning they grow comfortable in typical north-central Texas conditions and don’t require excessive supplemental water. See ratings in the Texas Smartscape Plant Database (http://www.txsmartscape.com/plant-search/).

Do not water too much or too often. Generally, one inch of water per week is all that is needed to keep your landscape healthy and beautiful, except during the hottest weeks of summer.

If you have a space dedicated to vegetables, herbs or landscape, consider adding a drip irrigation system, which uses less water than a sprinkler. A typical drip system includes isolation and control valves, backflow preventer, filter, adapter, emitters, connecting tubing and tubing. The drip tube sits on the ground in your bed with plant-placed or evenly spaced emitters.

Adding a three-inch layer of mulch around your vegetable and landscape plants also reduces water use by retaining moisture and moderating soil temperatures so less water is lost to evaporation.

better habits

We believe building better habits now leaves more water for the future – spend a little less time in the shower, run slightly larger loads in the washer, don’t use the dishwasher so often, and and so on. Small gestures, sure, but when you multiply them by the millions of people who live in Texas, they can make a long-term difference.

Public policy figures are also involved in all this. We think cities and counties will have to think harder and harder before approving the construction of homes and businesses on prairie land that has only housed cows, horses and sheep for the past thousands of years. ‘years. We also believe that local and state agencies need to start encouraging people to stop trying to keep Kentucky Bluegrass in their yards. People need to adopt native plants and prairie grasses that use far less water.

None of these ideas will create a reasonable path for people to continue to crowd into Texas and the rest of Sun Belt for decades or centuries to come. We simply don’t have enough water to sustain the growth we’ve seen over the past 40 years.

We believe it is time for everyone, regardless of their ideological leanings, to recognize these issues in a serious and sustained manner. A border wall won’t solve it, nor will a ban on new construction or state laws mandating household water use.

We need to change the way we think about our environment. Our resources are not infinite and they will disappear if we do not use them responsibly.

It’s a box that can no longer be thrown on the road.

Democrat Weatherford

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