Twice-Weekly Watering Schedule
All Water Customers
Irrigation of landscaped areas with hose-end sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems is limited to no more than twice per week according to the MANDATORY schedule. No watering is allowed on Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays and watering is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on the allowed watering days. Drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand-watering are allowed on any day and will be permitted between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Apartments, office building complexes or other property containing multiple addresses may be identified by the lowest address number.
Q: When did the mandatory twice-weekly watering schedule become permanent?
A: The new Conservation Ordinance requirement for maximum twice-weekly watering went into effect on April 23, 2012.
Q: Why is outdoor watering restricted?
A: The new permanent schedule is a pro-active water conservation measure, as opposed to a response to drought conditions. This addition to the existing conservation ordinance will help extend our water supply and possibly delay the need for more restrictive watering measures when the next drought comes. The Water Conservation ordinance focuses on outdoor watering because it’s considered a non-essential use and, on average, accounts for approximately 30% of our total annual water use.
Q: Are there any other reasons for the mandatory schedule?
A: Water is a critical issue in the state of Texas. We are susceptible to drought and the population continues to grow – it is projected to double in North Texas by 2060. Additional reservoirs are part of the long range water supply plan, but building reservoirs is long, expensive and politically unpopular. Our region is working very hard for additional water sources, but we must demonstrate that we’re using our existing supplies efficiently before those additional sources are likely to be permitted. Aggressive water conservation efforts demonstrate our region’s ability to use existing resources responsibly.
Q: What is the watering schedule for twice-weekly watering?
A: Residential and commercial customers with street addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6 or 8) can water on Sundays and Thursdays. Those customers with addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7 or 9) can water on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Residents or businesses without a street number on their address can water on Sundays and Thursdays. Properties with multiple addresses (duplexes, apartment complexes or office parks) should base their watering day on the last digit of the lowest address number. As a reminder, watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. is prohibited from April 1 through October 31. These restrictions apply to automatic or in-ground irrigation systems and hose-end sprinklers only. Drip irrigation, soaker hoses and hand-watering are permitted on any day.
Q: Can I use drip irrigation, a soaker hose or hand water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on any day?
A: Watering with these more efficient methods is not encouraged between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., but will be permitted.
Q: What about my vegetable garden?
A: Personal and community vegetable gardens are allowed to water any day with drip irrigation, soaker hoses or hand watering. Experts agree these are the best ways to water for healthy vegetable gardens.
Q: What else is impacted by the new ordinance?
A: The only change to the conservation ordinance is the mandatory watering schedule. The Water Conservation ordinance does not affect swimming pools, fountains, car washes, power washing businesses, non-landscaping businesses uses of water or domestic uses (such as indoor uses).
Q: I’m not using Dallas water on my landscape, does the watering schedule apply to me?
A: Residents or businesses using non-potable water for irrigation (rainwater, well water or grey water) are not required to follow the watering schedule. If the alternate source watering system is permanently installed, a building permit is required and a small purple sign stating that non-potable water is in use. This requirement is for public safety and public health reasons. For more information on those requirements, please see section J106, page 11 of the Irrigation Systems Ordinance: http://www.dallascityhall.com/pdf/Building/IrrigationSystemsOrdinance2009.pdf.
Wholesale raw water customers, depending on the terms of their contract with DWU, may also be exempt from the mandatory schedule.
Q: Can I keep my landscape alive if I can only water twice per week?
A: Horticultural experts agree that landscapes are healthiest with deep and infrequent watering. Even in the heat of summer, landscapes only need about one inch of water every 5 to 10 days to thrive. Watering your landscape often encourages shallow roots which are more susceptible to damage from extreme heat, freezing temperatures, pests, diseases and future drought conditions. Native or adapted plants require even less water – in the right conditions some perennial flowers can go weeks without supplemental watering.
Q: But what about last year, I was watering every other day and my plants still died?
A: Area horticulturalists are saying that many of the plant losses from last year were due to landscapes being over watered or to the extreme temperatures. Some plants couldn’t survive the heat, water wasn’t the problem – they just couldn’t survive the high air temperatures. Others were weakened by the heat, and then suffocated because they were drowned with excessive amounts of water.
Signs of heat stress are similar to the signs of a plant needing more water. If a plant is drooping in the afternoon, check it the next morning. If it looks OK, the problem is the heat. Also check the soil – the surface area may feel dry, but check a few inches below the surface. The soil below may still have plenty of water. This will prevent the accidental drowning of your landscape. Three to four inches of mulch can also make a big difference in shading the soil and reducing evaporation.
Q: But I’m trying to establish a new lawn or new landscaping – how can I do that on a twice-weekly watering schedule?
A: Temporary variances will be allowed for new landscaping. Applications for variances to the Water Conservation Plan are available on SaveDallasWater.com. Hard copies can be obtained for those without access to the Internet by calling (214) 670-3155. Variances will be considered for both residential and commercial customers.
If you are only planting a few new shrubs or a new tree, those can be watered with a soaker hose, hand watering or drip irrigation on any day without a variance.
Q: What about golf courses and other large properties that cannot be physically watered on a single day?
A: Very large properties, golf courses and athletic fields also may request variances to the watering schedule but are required to reduce consumption by 5%, based on their previous 5-year average consumption.
Q: Are there any other types of variances being considered?
A: There may be other situations where the watering schedule may not be manageable. There is a link on SaveDallasWater.com that describes in more detail the other types of variances being considered.
Exceptions to the watering schedule are also made for irrigation professionals working on or checking on irrigation systems. Irrigation professionals must be on site to be exempt from day of week or time of day restrictions. Commercial nurseries are also exempt from the watering schedule and time of day requirements.
Q: Will DWU’s wholesale customer cities be required to implement a mandatory twice-weekly schedule?
A: Each wholesale city’s contract requires water conservation measures. However, each city will have to pass its own ordinances to implement twice-weekly watering schedules. Customer city mayors were briefed on the new twice-weekly watering schedule and encouraged to implement a similar schedule in their cities.
Q: Dallas has been pushing for conservation for a while. Have those efforts succeeded?
A: YES! Although the City has encouraged conservation for many years, since the City began a more concentrated effort in 2001, Dallas residents and businesses have reduced our gallons per capita per day by 23% resulting in a projected water savings of 146 billion gallons. We expect even greater savings with the twice-weekly watering schedule.
Q: I don’t live in Dallas. Where can I go for more information on watering restrictions in other cities in North Texas?
A: For information on other cities visit SaveNorthTexasWater.com.