|What's your H2O IQ?||What's your H2O IQ?||Bryan Pope||Pope||2017-05-04T05:00:00Z||Infrastructure ＆ Transportation|
Soil & Water Stewardship Week is currently underway. This year's theme is "No Land, No Water," so now seems an appropriate time for a pop quiz on Texas water knowledge.
- About how much water do Texans use annually?
- What percentage of that is groundwater?
- Groundwater comes from how many Texas aquifers?
- Which aquifer provides most of the groundwater used by Texans?
- What percentage of groundwater is used for crop irrigation?
Let's see how you did.
According to Texas A&M University's Texas Water FAQ, Texans use about 16.5 million acre-feet of water per year (one acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons of water). Sixty percent of that is groundwater. Groundwater comes from 32 Texas aquifers. The Ogallala Aquifer beneath the High Plains of West Texas yields about two-thirds of all the groundwater we use in Texas. Generally speaking, about 80 percent of all groundwater used in Texas is for watering crops.
So, Texans use a lot of water, and with waves of newcomers moving here each year, water is going to become an even more precious resource. In fact, the Texas Water Development Board projects that by the 2040s cities and industries will surpass agriculture in water usage.
This makes conserving water all the more critical. To that end, here are some water conservation tips, also courtesy of Texas A&M's Texas Water website:
- Conduct a household water audit to assess how efficiently you're using water and identify ways to improve. Some water utilities offer free water audits or water audit kits to their customers.
- Check toilets, faucets, and shower heads for leaks.
- If you have a lawn irrigation system, do certain areas of your yard stay damp an unusually long time? That could mean you have a leaking valve, pipe, or sprinkler head. Check those as well.
- Speaking of irrigation system, adjust the settings to meet plant water needs without overwatering them.
- Has your sprinkler system ever continued running during a downpour? Consider investing in a rain shut-off sensor. They're inexpensive.
- Here's a tip your entire family can use: Turn the water off when brushing teeth.
For more on the state's water challenges and water-management efforts, read "Water Planning and Groundwater Management," "Marketing Texas Groundwater," "Just Add Water," and "Big Gulp: Quenching Texans' Thirst for Water." You can download them free from our website.