Not a cloud in the sky … you know what that means

Austin American-Statesman - - OPINION -

Austin is look­ing pretty green for midJuly, a time of year when sum­mer in the city tends to leave a brown tinge on our land­scape. Lawns are look­ing lush with­out much help from the hoses and sprin­klers.

Rain­fall in Austin topped six inches in June, above the 3.81 inch av­er­age for the month. So far this month, de­spite trop­i­cal sys­tems that brought storms through the area, we’re run­ning a bit be­hind av­er­age.

There’s lit­tle rain in the 10-day fore­cast, though to­day’s out­look shows a chance of iso­lated thun­der­storms, and there’s a 20 per­cent chance of more rain by midweek. Looks like dry sea­son could be upon us, and that means Cen­tral Tex­ans’ thoughts should turn to wa­ter con­ser­va­tion.

Austin of­fi­cials are work­ing to re­duce wa­ter con­sump­tion. To that end, the city has set up wa­ter­wiseaustin.org as the go-to web­site for a “com­mit, cal­cu­late and con­serve” cam­paign.

More than 13 mil­lion gal­lons of wa­ter would be saved each day if ev­ery­one could find ways to cut us­age by 10 per­cent. To help you get there, the web­site in­cludes a wa­ter-use cal­cu­la­tor that of­fers an easy way to see how your wa­ter us­age adds up and how you can cut it down.

By sign­ing up to pledge to cut your us­age by 10 per­cent you be­come el­i­gi­ble to win a wa­ter-ef­fi­cient washer and dryer.

Also new from Austin Wa­ter is a free re­cy­cling pro­gram for toi­lets that have been re­placed with higher-ef­fi­ciency mod­els. The util­ity’s wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­grams put al­most 20,000 of the newer toi­lets in place last year. In­for­ma­tion about the re­cy­cling pro­gram is avail­able from the city’s FM 812 Re­source Re­cov­ery Cen­ter.

The re­cy­cling pro­gram is a nice com­ple­ment to the on­go­ing pro­gram that pro­vides free, high-ef­fi­ciency toi­lets for homes built prior to Jan. 1, 1996. (The pro­gram is tar­geted at older, low-ef­fi­ciency toi­lets. Free toi­lets are not avail­able to re­place 1.6 gal­lon-per-flush mod­els.)

Also new from Austin Wa­ter are charts, in­cluded on the left col­umn of your monthly state­ment, show­ing your wa­ter, waste­water and elec­tric us­age for the past 13 months. We en­cour­age you to take a moment to pe­ruse the chart and look for spikes that

More than 13 mil­lion gal­lons of wa­ter would be saved each day if ev­ery­one could cut us­age by 10 per­cent.

could mean a prob­lem such as a leak that can waste wa­ter and cost you money.

Go to wa­ter­wiseaustin.org to see other in­cen­tive pro­grams for which you might qual­ify.

By way of re­minder, Austin Wa­ter cus­tomers are un­der Stage 1 re­stric­tions, which mean:

• No use of ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems or hoseend sprin­klers be­tween 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

• Sin­gle-fam­ily homes at odd-num­bered ad­dresses can use wa­ter­ing sys­tems only on Wed­nes­days and/or Satur­days.

• Even-num­bered ad­dresses are re­stricted to Thurs­days and/or Sun­days.

• There are no re­stric­tions on wa­ter­ing by hand.

As we all re­mem­ber from last year’s drought, wa­ter is far too valu­able to waste. Do your part to con­serve.

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