While North Texas has experienced wetter than normal conditions the past few years, water utilities must stay the course to support conservation as a critical component of water resource planning. According to the most recent state water plan, nearly one-quarter of future water supplies to serve North Texas will come from conservation and reuse. That’s just one important reason why the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) continues to invest in water education as conservation remains a vital source of supply to meet our region’s long term water needs.
It was fifteen years ago when NTMWD championed the first state-wide public awareness program in Texas to educate residents about their local water resources and provide easy tips on how to conserve. The “Water IQ: Know your Water” program was based around research showing that the more people know where their drinking water comes from, the more likely they are to use it wisely.
This campaign led to a wave of additional water saving programs, including WaterMyYard.org, Water4Otter and #PledgeToPlantSmart. Most recently, our water education and awareness initiatives have expanded to incorporate a “One Water” focus which includes water treatment and delivery, wastewater treatment and reuse, stormwater and watershed protection. These programs have received numerous state, regional and local awards and recognitions.
The education programs are designed to provide consumers with water conservation and efficiency tips and increase their knowledge of NTMWD and the regional services we provide. Through targeted messaging, residents in communities we serve can learn how Lavon Lake is their main source of drinking water and how important it is to know when to water their lawns and when to wait. Our partnership with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension developed the weather-based irrigation tool WaterMyYard.org which delivers alerts to subscribers to help reduce waste due to overwatering landscapes.
We developed a youth program, Water4Otter, which centers on the next generation of water users. Otis the Otter and his friends encourage students to stop wasteful water use habits and protect the wildlife sharing Lavon Lake. Water4Otter has continued to grow in popularity over its five years, and now includes regular attendance at Frisco Roughriders baseball games giving us the ability to reach an extended family audience.
As part of the education programs to use water wisely, we created a series of public service announcements featuring prominent Texas leaders to share the importance of selecting plants native and adapted to the state and our climate. When Hall of Fame Pitcher Nolan Ryan tells you to #PledgeToPlantSmart, most
As part of our commitment to regionalization and efficiencies, we have most recently teamed with two of our neighboring water agencies, Dallas Water Utilities and Tarrant Regional Water District, to launch a new public education and conservation campaign across multiple media platforms this summer. The campaign focuses on our collective love of Texas traditions to help instill a love of Texas water – something no one can live without – to keep Texas water on tap. The “Water Is Awesome” campaign is featured on social media, TV, radio and print throughout our combined service areas. Visit WaterIsAwesome.com for more information.
NTMWD is building on its historic commitment to conserving and protecting our most vital resource. Our combination of programs and messages continue to be shared through community outreach events, presentations at elementary schools, media outlets such as TV, radio, print, theater and many more. While it is difficult pinpoint exact percentages of conservation habit changes, we have seen a 15% annual water use reduction through the combined efforts of NTMWD and the communities we serve since we began these education and awareness efforts.