Drought Information

Current Drought Stage:  

The City of Georgetown is enacting Phase I of the Drought Contingency Plan. Drought conditions, extraordinarily high temperatures, excessive water consumption, and irrigation on “No-Watering” Mondays, has necessitated the activation of the Drought Contingency Plan.

As a result of entering into Phase 1, all water customers are required to move to a new 2 day per week watering schedule, shown below.

Address ends in: May water these days:
1, 5, 9 Tue. and/or Fri.
2, 4, 6, 8 Wed. and/or Sat.
0, 3, 7 Thu. and/or Sun.

Additionally, landscape irrigation is not allowed during the hours between Noon and 7:00 p.m.

Use of a hand-held hose or bucket can be any day and at any time. Other outdoor water uses such as vehicle washing or filling a swimming pool can be done any day at any time.

Below are some additional resources regarding water use during drought conditions as well as information on the City’s water conservation plan.

City of Georgetown Drought Contingency Plan

City of Georgetown Water Use Ordinance

City of Georgetown Five Year Water Conservation Plan

 

Brazos River Authority Drought Information

In addition to the Drought Contingency Plan adopted by the City of Georgetown, we also work closely with the Brazos River Authority during times when they may implement the various stages of their Drought Contingency Plan.  To find more information regarding the Brazos River Authority and the Drought Contingency Plan click below.

Brazos River Authority Drought Information 

U.S. Drought Monitor and Brazos River Authority Reservoir Levels

Lake Georgetown Information

When we talk about Lake Georgetown, and how much water is in it, it will be in one of two ways.  One way is in acre-feet, and the other is in feet above mean sea level.  Acre-feet allows for an easy conversion into gallons to tell how much water is in the lake.  Using the actual level of the lake usually relates to some physical aspect, because if the lake gets below a particular level, certain activities may be impacted such as utilizing boat ramps, or in the case of the city, pumping water out of the lake.  Below are a couple of charts which show the current volume, as well as the current level of Lake Georgetown.

For further information regarding current or historical water levels at Lake Georgetown, both the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS)have excellent resources available.

This first chart comes from the TWDB and provides a look at the current volume in terms of acre feet.  One acre-foot of water equals 325,851 gallons, so when Lake Georgetown is full (dotted red line) there is roughly 11,998,811,373 gallons of water!

Current Conditions:

TWDB Current Volume (thousands acre-feet)
Lake Georgetown Level, NOAA

Sprinkler System Maintenance

Update Your Sprinkler System’s Controller

Billions of gallons of water are wasted every day from inefficient landscape watering. Newer, more efficient irrigation-control technologies use local weather and landscape conditions to tailor watering schedules to the conditions in your yard. For example, a rain and freeze sensor automatically shuts off your irrigation system during rain or freezing temperatures. The TCEQ has a Landscape Irrigation guide which has additional information on watering efficiently.

Want more landscaping ideas? Check out the TCEQ landscape publications, which have great information about environmentally friendly yard care. 

Setting Your Irrigation System for Optimum Efficiency

Water .75 to 1.0 inches every time you water, watering until soil is moist at least 4″ deep in flowerbeds and deeper below turf.  (One hour or more after watering, dig down with a screwdriver or other tool to check.)  This will take several watering cycles with 45 minutes to an hour between each cycle to avoid losing water to runoff.

To set your timer:

  1. In each zone, run your sprinkler system until you begin to see runoff, then immediately turn off the water.  This will tell you how long a cycle you can run in that zone without wasting water.
  2. Place tuna or cake pans between sprinklers for a period of time in each zone to learn how long it will take to get one inch of water.  Be sure to run in cycles to avoid runoff!
  3. Water a total of .75 to 1.0″ water once per week in short cycles are needed in that zone.  Leave 45 minutes to an hour between cycles to give time for water to be absorbed.
  4. Extend time between watering as long as possible to allow time for roots to stretch deeper for moisture.

Signs of moisture stress:

Plants wilted in the morning; turf turning off color with dull purplish cast, leaf rolling or slight browning off, footprint tracks left when walked on.  If you see these symptoms in just a few spots, water those few spots with a hose.  As other parts dry down, then water the zone.

When more frequent watering might be needed:

If you have shallow soil, you may have to water more often in turf areas until you are able to build soil depth by using top dressing spring and fall.

In mid-summer extreme heat, there may be such high evapo-transpiration that you must water twice a week depending on your choice of plants and how successful you have been watering infrequently to develop deeper roots on your turf.

Notes: Shrubs and trees should be deeply soaked every three to four weeks during the dry season.

Trees: with pencil-sized stream, water area midway truck to drip-line and a little beyond.  Divide into areas like face of clock, two hours or more each area.  Keep moving around.  Check moisture depth.

Check your watering system monthly.  Be sure someone has access for your watering system when you are away from an extended time to adjust as necessary.

Need Help?

For assistance in programming your irrigation controller, call Customer Care at (512) 930-3640, or email customercare@georgetown.org.

DontWaterDownGeorgetown

The City is promoting water conservation this summer as we have in past years. For most households, the single biggest step you can take is to reduce the number of days you water your lawn to two or even one day each week. You can see the watering schedule that shows your days for outdoor watering based on your address at water.georgetown.org.

Another step you can take is to drop three minutes on the zone run times on your irrigation system. Shaving a few minutes off each zone run time can save a significant amount of water. And your lawn will still be getting enough to stay healthy. If you need help adjusting your controller, contact Customer Care at (512) 930-3640 or customercare@georgetown.org.

Click on the images below for more information, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional tips to conserve water throughout the summer.

TipsToSave
CheckYourSchedule
PickTwo
NoWateringMonday

Op-Ed by Mayor Dale Ross

Are We Running Out of Water?

Water use by Georgetown customers jumped dramatically in July. Daily water consumption increased from 18 million gallons in June to more than 30 million in July—an increase of nearly 70 percent.

The main factor for the sharp increase is the weather. The thermometer reached the upper 90s or the triple-digits almost every day in July. That kind of heat means we are watering lawns more often. Based on patterns in prior years, we know that in the hottest months of the summer, 75 percent of daily household water use, on average, is for landscape irrigation.

The City is promoting water conservation this summer as we have in past years. For most households, the single biggest step you can take is to reduce the number of days you water your lawn to two or even one day each week. You can see the watering schedule that shows your days for outdoor watering based on your address at water.georgetown.org. Pick two days on the schedule.

Another step you can take is to drop three minutes on the zone run times on your irrigation system. Shaving a few minutes off each zone run time can save a significant amount of water. And your lawn will still be getting enough to stay healthy. If you need help adjusting your controller, contact Customer Care at (512) 930-3640 or customercare@georgetown.org.

Given that Lake Georgetown—our primary water supply—is at the full mark, some may ask why water conservation is needed.

Others may wonder, “Are we running out of water?” Since we are the fastest-growing city in the U.S., do we have enough water for all those new residents?

The short answer is: we are not running out of water.

Georgetown’s current water supply comes from ground water as well as surface water in Lake Georgetown and in Stillhouse Hollow Lake. The untreated water from Stillhouse Hollow is pumped through a pipeline. The current projection in the Water Master Plan, given population growth, is that these water sources will meet demand through 2047. With additional conservation measures, our water sources can meet demand past 2060. Acquiring additional water resources could extend the timeline even further.

To extend our current water supply to meet demand through 2060, we need to reduce overall demand by 20 percent. Meeting that goal involves a multi-faceted strategy including reasonable limits on irrigation, promoting drought-tolerant grasses, and reducing the irrigated lawn area for new homes.

When the City promotes water conservation, there are really three factors to consider. The first is this long-term goal to reduce our overall consumption to meet the needs of future residents and economic development.

The other two factors are short-term and not fundamentally related to our supply contracts and sources. The first is severe drought conditions, or other extreme events, that lead us to enact our Drought Contingency Plan. In 2009 and 2011, water utilities across the region, including Georgetown’s, put water restrictions in place.

The second short-term factor is related to our just-in-time approach to building new water infrastructure to meet demand. Our goal is to deliver new water treatment, distribution, and supply capacity only when it is needed so that customers pay for capital expenses only when they are needed. With our fast-growing city, for example, we now have water storage tanks under construction on Westinghouse Road and at Daniels Mountain in the former Chisholm Trail SUD service area that is served by Georgetown. New storage tanks are planned on Cedar Breaks Road at DB Wood Road and in Sun City. Treatment plant expansions also are planned.

While the City will continue to invest in our water utility infrastructure to meet the demands of our growing population, we all have a role to play. Each of us can adjust our water use habits and take steps to reduce our overall demand. This long-term issue is one that we can solve together to ensure we have the water we need for our future.

Water Conservation Plan

This Water Conservation Plan was developed to maintain and extend the available water supply to the City’s certified service area and to protect the integrity of water supply facilities

with a focus on domestic water use, sanitation and fire prevention; to protect and preserve public health, welfare and safety; and to minimize the adverse impacts of water supply shortages or other water supply emergency conditions. This comprehensive plan includes the adoption and implementation of recognized water conservation best management practices.

Click here to read the full Water Conservation Plan.

Rain Barrels

Install and Maintain Rain Barrels

Now is a great time to install or perform routine maintenance on rain barrels. Rain barrels help conserve water by harvesting rain, which can be used instead of municipal or well water. Also, rainwater is better for your plants because it is free of salts and other minerals that harm root growth.

Install a Rain Barrel

Check out the TCEQ’s video, Building a Rain Barrel. Also, check out their brief guide Rainwater Harvesting with Rain Barrels.

Keep Your Rain Barrel Working Properly

Proper maintenance will help keep your rain barrels free of leaks, clogs, and mosquitoes. Check out the TCEQ blog for a suggested maintenance schedule.

Mulch

Use Mulch to Save Water

Mulch is a chemical-free, protective ground covering, which saves water and money by conserving the soil’s moisture. It also inhibits weed growth, prevents erosion, and moderates soil temperature.

City of Georgetown curbside-collected yard trimmings are brought to the City’s Collection Station where it is ground into mulch which is free to all Georgetown Utility customers living inside the city limits. Limit one free cubic yard of mulch per account, per month.

Currently while supply lasts, we are offering this great mulch to outside city limit customers who have Texas Disposal Systems (TDS) garbage service. Customers must have TDS garbage service in order to receive one yard of mulch free.

Applying Mulch

Water the ground thoroughly before and after applying mulch. Put a layer of mulch around trees and shrubs, but avoid piling it against the trunks and stems as this will cause disease and pest infestation. After settling, the mulch layer should be 4 inches deep around trees and 2 inches deep around shrubs. Check out the TCEQ helpful guide, Mulching and Composting, for more information.