Water Services

Ready to help College Station win a national challenge?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Is College Station one of the country’s most water-wise communities?

We think so, but we need your help to prove it.

Throughout April, College Station will participate in the Sixth Annual Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation, a friendly, nationwide competition to determine what cities are the most water-wise. To win, cities must have the highest percentage of residents take the challenge.

College Station will compete in the 100,000-299,999 population category won last year by Ventura, Calif, which had 350 residents participate. In 2016, the event awarded prizes to nearly 1,000 residents in winning cities.

What’s in it for you, besides the pride of living in a nationally recognized water-wise community? Quite a bit, actually.

If you’ve entered the prize drawing and we finish at the top, you could win:

  • A new Toyota Prius (grand prize).
  • A $1,000 shopping spree at a home improvement store.
  • 50 Greening Your Cleaning Gift Baskets from Earth Friendly Products.
  • 50 Toro EVOLUTION® Series controllers (equipped w/ Smart Connect®, Weather Sensor, and additional 4-station module).
  • 50 Cree 6-pack dimmable (84 percent less energy) LED light bulbs.
  • 50 Avex Brazos Autoseal® water bottles (set of 2)
  • 25 EcoFlow® shower heads from Waterpik.

How to participate

College Station Mayor Karl Mooney challenges you to conserve water, energy and other natural resources through a series of informative, easy-to-use online pledges. Teachers and students are encouraged to take part in the Classroom Water Pledge Challenge to earn prizes for their school.

To participate, click on one of the following links from April 1-30 and take the pledge. Encourage your friends and neighbors to take it, too.

The pledge asks residents to take simple actions to save water, such as fixing leaky faucets, taking shorter showers, and using energy efficient appliances — because saving energy also saves water.

Presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, the campaign was created in 2011 to complement existing municipal water conservation programs, promote drought resiliency and healthy watersheds, and reduce stress on aging water infrastructure. In 2016, residents from 4,100 cities pledged to reduce water consumption by 1.9 billion gallons — enough to fill 2,877 Olympic-size swimming pools.

That’s a lot of water!

Related Links:

 


About the Author

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 after serving two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and received a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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3 simple steps to save big on your water bill

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

More than one trillion gallons of water are wasted in American homes each year because of easy-to-fix leaks. That’s why the City of College Station is joining with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency this week to encourage homeowners to find and repair leaks during the annual Fix a Leak Week.

In the average home, household leaks waste more than 10,000 gallons of water each year. That’s enough water for 270 loads of laundry.

You can identify leaks around your home and start saving today with these three simple steps:

1. Check

Check your water bill and water meter for signs of leaks. If your water use this winter exceeded 12,000 gallons a month for a family of four, you probably had leaks. Read your water meter before and after a two-hour period when you’re not using any water. If the meter changes at all, you probably have a leak. Water meters also have a leak indicator – if there is a (+) sign on a digital water meter, or if the red dial is moving at all when you’re not using water – that’s a sign of a leak.

Check for dripping faucets, showerheads, sprinklers, and other fixtures. Silent toilet leaks, a common culprit of high water bills, can be detected by placing a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and waiting 10 minutes before flushing. If any color appears in the bowl during that time, you have a leak. Don’t forget to check your irrigation system and spigots, too.

2. Twist

Apply pipe tape to make sure plumbing fixture connections are sealed tight and give leaking faucets and showerheads a firm twist with a wrench. If you can’t stop those drops yourself, contact a licensed plumber.

For additional savings, twist a WaterSense-labeled aerator onto each bathroom faucet to save water without affecting flow. Faucet aerators only cost a few dollars can save a household more than 500 gallons each year—enough for 180 showers.

3. Replace

If you just can’t nip that drip, it may be time to replace the fixture. Look for WaterSense-labeled models, which use at least 20 percent less water and are independently certified to perform as well or better than standard fixtures. Replacing an old, inefficient showerhead with a WaterSense labeled model will shrink your household’s water footprint by 2,900 gallons annually while still letting you shower with power, thanks to EPA’s efficiency and performance criteria.

With less hot water passing through, WaterSense-labeled showerheads can also save enough energy to power a television for a year. If you Replace an old toilet that uses 3.5 gallons or more per flush with a WaterSense-labeled toilet, you could be eligible for a $100 rebate.

How do you get started?

First, click here to take the WaterSense Pledge, then follow WaterSense on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest tips.

Finally, grab a wrench or contact your favorite handy person, plumber, or certified irrigation professional to repair your leaky toilets, faucets, showerheads, and irrigation systems.

The water you save will help conserve our precious water while saving you a substantial amount of money.

 


7204119348_7a9cc790a2_oAbout the Author

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator for more than 15 years after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and earned a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

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By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Wastewater Master Plan Update: In the workshop, the council will review the city’s updated Wastewater Master Plan, which includes demand projections and a capital improvement plan.
  2. Neighborhood Sidewalk Improvements: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $203,000 contract for sidewalks on the west side of Eisenhower Street, the south side of Live Oak Street, the north side of San Saba Drive, and an ADA accessible sidewalk on the south side of Cross Street. The projects will be funded by federal Community Development Block Grants.
  3. LED Street Lighting: Also on the consent agenda is a $2.56 million contract for replacing the city’s street lights with more efficient LED (light emitting diode) fixtures.
  4. Corsair Circle Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the land use and zoning designations for about two acres on Corsair Circle just north of Pavilion Avenue. The changes would allow for the development of a hotel.
  5. SH 6-Sebesta Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the land use and zoning designations for about 18 acres south of Sebesta Road along State Highway 6. The changes would allow for commercial development.

Before the council’s executive session, the city’s employee of the year will be announced at 3:30 p.m. and honored with the other nominees at a reception. Employees with at least 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service also will be recognized.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related links:     

         


14316755_10108798313965164_2904942172107966680_nAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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A free way to spruce up your sprinklers and save money

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By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Twice in recent weeks – even before the heavy rain stopped – I was contacted by several homeowner associations after residents complained about slippery, algae-covered sidewalks caused by irrigation runoff.

Apparently, some irrigation systems are in dire need of a Sprinkler Spruce Up.

If learning how to program your sprinkler controller, spot irrigation leaks, and cut your water bills rank high among your summer goals, you’ll want to attend one of three free workshops hosted by College Station Water Services in observance of Smart Irrigation Month.

The first workshop is Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Mediterranean Room at Pebble Creek Country Club. Participating households will receive a rain gauge, soil moisture meter, and a $25 gift card to a home improvement store. You’ll even get a chance to meet Flo the Spokesgallon (pictured above) from the EPA WaterSense program.

You’ll also learn valuable sprinkler system maintenance tips, see the latest in water-saving sprinkler technology, get tips from a licensed irrigator, and learn about weekly watering recommendations from the Brazos Valley Water Smart Network.

If you can’t make it Saturday, we’ll repeat the class twice in July:

  • Saturday, July 9: 10-11:30 a.m., Carter Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant (Training Room), 2200 North Forest Pkwy.
  • Saturday, July 23: 10:30 a.m.-noon, Castlegate II Event Center, 4205 Norwich Dr.

These workshops are for you if:

  • You have a sprinkler system but fear that scaling back your watering schedule will kill your lawn.
  • You’ve had high summer water bills in the past and want to avoid sticker shock again.
  • You’re curious about how slight adjustments to your watering schedule could save you money.
  • Your neighborhood or homeowner association collectively seeks to reduce the amount of water use and runoff – and clear up those algae-ridden sidewalks!

For more information or to register, please contact Water Resource Coordinator Jennifer Nations at 979-764-6223 or jnations@cstx.gov.

 


7204119348_7a9cc790a2_oAbout the Author

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator for more than 15 years after two years as BVSWMA’s environmental compliance officer. She’s also chair of the Water Conservation and  Reuse Division for the Texas Section of the American Water Works Association. A native of Fremont, Calif., Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental & resource science from UC-Davis in 1995 and earned a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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Is College Station’s drinking water contaminated?

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By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

After the recent national headlines about lead contamination in Flint, Mich., and the news stories about poor water quality monitoring practices, you certainly can’t blame people for suspecting our tap water may be unsafe — or even dangerous.

Unfortunately, some businesses have taken advantage of the headlines by spreading misinformation in a misguided attempt to sell water products and services.

Don’t believe them. College Station’s drinking water is safe.

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We’re keeping a close eye on San Antonio water project

Vista Ridge PipelineBy Dave Coleman, Water Services Director

Last October, the San Antonio City Council approved a contract with a joint venture named Vista Ridge to supply 50,000 acre-feet per year of Simsboro aquifer water to the San Antonio Water System (SAWS).

Since we rely on the Simsboro aquifer for 99 percent of our drinking water, we’re paying close attention to the project. By comparison, combined water use by College Station, Bryan, and Texas A&M is typically about 36,000 acre-feet per year. All three entities are in the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District.

Vista Ridge is able to offer that much water to SAWS because it’s obtained sufficient well permits from the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD). The permits are based on several thousand water rights leases that Vista Ridge has signed with landowners in Burleson County.

Since groundwater is private property in Texas, these landowners are fully within their rights to sell the water under their property.

Desired Future Conditions (more…)