Water Conservation Tips

Winter Tips

Tips for Preparing for Winter Weather

When winter weather arrives in Grand Prairie, it is important to protect your home and property from freezing temperatures. Follow the simple steps below to help save money on your water bill.

  • Turn your sprinkler system off. Water once every three weeks, if no rainfall has occurred, on a day without freezing temperatures. Be sure to inspect your system by observing each zone for one minute and make any necessary repairs or adjustments to reduce water runoff that can create icy conditions on the road.
  • Disconnect and drain outdoor water hoses, then store them indoors for future use next spring.
  • Cover outdoor faucets with Styrofoam faucet covers (available at hardware or home improvement stores) or wrap faucets with heavy cloth covered by plastic.
  • Wrap pipes located in attics or garages with heat tape or cover them with pipe insulation.
  • Locate your emergency master shut-off valve (usually found in a flower bed near the front of the house) so that you can quickly shut off the water to your house if any pipes happen to freeze and burst while they are thawing.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air into the area around interior pipes.
  • Set the hot and cold faucets to drip slowly in the kitchen sink, bathroom sinks, and tubs. The slow movement of water in the pipes will prevent solid freezing.
  • If you will be leaving town for an extended period of time, ask a close neighbor or friend to check on your property every few days.
  • Any house or business that is totally vacant should be “winterized” – which is turning the water off at the meter and then opening all faucets on the property to drain the pipes.
  • If water pipes become frozen, let them thaw naturally by exposing warmer air to the pipes.
  • Never try to thaw pipes using hair dryers or other forms of heat!

Watering in Drought

What should I not do in a drought?

Don’t apply high-salt, quick release fertilizers or dig under the canopy of a tree in a severe drought. Don’t prune live branches off young trees just because of drought. The tree may need these branches when the rains return.

Drought Map

The U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) is a map that shows the location and intensity of drought across the country. The data is updated each Tuesday and released on Thursday.

View Drought Map

Outdoor Watering

Tips for Reducing Outdoor Water Use

The following simple steps can reduce your outdoor water use significantly and save money on your water bill:

  • Recognize that different areas require different water. For example, grass areas should be watered separately from shrubs, flowerbeds and other plants. Landscape plants should be zoned according to similar water needs. For the best results, the type of watering system should be selected based on the landscape arrangement and types of plants.
  • Use proper watering equipment. Grass areas are best watered with sprinklers. Trees, shrubs, flowers and groundcovers can be watered efficiently with low-volume drip, spray, soaker or bubbler emitters and devices.
  • Keep equipment well maintained. Regular adjustment of the irrigation system can save water and money.

Lawn Watering Practices

Studies have shown that the typical lawn often receives twice as much water as required to maintain healthy grass. Know when to water by closely observing the grass. Either use a moisture probe or wait for signs of stress, such as a dull green color, footprints that remain visible after walking on the lawn, or curled blades of grass before watering.

To water efficiently, first determine how much water your sprinkler applies:

Run the sprinkler for 30 minutes. Use an overlapping sprinkler pattern to cover the lawn evenly. Lawns on sandy soil require more frequent watering than lawns on loam or clay soils. Water can be applied less often to clay and loam soils, but it should be applied more slowly to prevent runoff. To avoid runoff on sloping areas, place sprinklers near the top of the slope. Apply water slowly for 5-15 minutes, then turn it back on for 5-15 minutes, etc., until the correct amount of water has been applied.

According to the Texas Water Development Board and the Texas Agriculture Extension Service, Bermuda grass in the Grand Prairie area needs about 1 inch to 1.5 inches of water applied every 7-10 days. St. Augustine needs about 1.5 to 1.75 inches every five days and Buffalo grass needs about 1 inch every two to five weeks.

Water during the early morning or evening hours since evaporation losses will be up to 60 percent higher during the day. Do not water between 10am and 6 pm or on windy days. Set sprinklers so the lawn is watered, not sidewalks and driveways.

Texas SmartScape: Using Native Texas Plants to Conserve Water

The Texas SmartScape program utilizes xeriscape principles, but goes beyond the basics by providing the design, care and plant search tools that are "smart" for North Central Texas. Learn more from the Texas SmartScape website.

Indoor Water Conservation

In the Kitchen

  • Only run the dishwasher when it's full.
  • Plug the sink or use a dishpan to rinse or wash dishes instead of using running water.
  • Wash your fruit and veggies in a pan of water instead of using running water.
  • Soak pots or pans instead of letting the water run while scrubbing.
  • Don't use running water to defrost food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.

In the Laundry Room

  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • Only run the washer when it's full.
  • When buying a new washer, consider purchasing an energy and water efficient model.

In the Bathroom

  • Toilet leaks are one of the most common leaks - and they can be silent! Be sure to test for toilet leaks once a year.
  • Don't flush tissues or wipes, even if they claim to be "flushable." These wipes are actually not flushable and can cause harm to plumbing and wastewater systems because they do not disintegrate after flushing. Instead, they wrap around other flushed wipes and debris, damage pumps at the wastewater plant, and have to be removed from wastewater screens and lift stations.
  • Plug the sink instead of running water to rinse your razor.
  • Turn off the water while you brush your teeth.
  • Consider purchasing a water efficient shower head and faucets.
  • Take shorter showers. A five-minute shower uses less water than running a bath.

General Indoor

  • Frequently check for leaks.
  • Monitor your water usage for unusually high use using H2Know. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.

Water Conservation Speakers

Speakers on water conservation are available to talk to civic groups, community and charitable organizations. For more information, call 972-237-8377.

Grand Prairie Water Conservation Ordinance

The Grand Prairie Water Conservation Plan, required by state law, outlines year-round water conservation efforts for residents and businesses. These requirements are in place regardless of whether drought conditions exist or not. Should a drought occur, stricter requirements could be enacted.

Highlights of the plan calls for:

  • Watering of lawns after 6 p.m. and before 10 a.m. (and conversely, don’t water from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.) year round
  • If Mother Nature is watering, be it drizzle, rain, hail, snow or ice, turn sprinklers off
  • Adjust sprinklers to water the lawn, not the concrete, stone, brick or other impervious surfaces
  • Fix all broken or missing sprinkler heads
  • Maintain a sprinkler system so that it does not waste water
  • For systems installed after June 1, 2009, rain, wind, freeze sensors must be installed

The ordinance allows watering outside the parameters above for 30 days for the purpose of:

  • Establishing hydromulch, grass sod or grass seed
  • Dust control of a sport field
  • Maintenance, repair or testing of an irrigation system
  • Watering by use of a hand-held or soaker hose

Thorough, but infrequent watering (no more than every five days) develops deeper roots and plants that are healthier and more drought tolerant. Persons or companies who refuse to comply with the ordinance face fines up to $2,000. For more information, contact the City of Grand Prairie Water Utilities at 972-237-8377.

View the Full Water Conservation Plan(PDF, 214KB)

State of Texas Water Conservation Plan

In 1997, the Texas Legislature adopted a consensus-driven water planning process. Our water planning process has received praise nationwide and is considered by many to be the model for successful, locally-driven state water planning efforts.

If we fail to implement the State Water Plan, the cost of inaction is severe. While our State Water Plan is essential to public health and the success of our economy, we have not fully implemented the plan – a move that requires state financing. If we fail to implement the plan, by 2060, half of Texans will not have enough water during certain drought conditions. Drought conditions cost Texas businesses and workers billions of dollars in lost income every year. If Texas does not implement the State Water Plan, those losses could grow to $116 billion annually. View Full State of Texas Conservation Plan(PDF, 6MB).