Posts tagged “water conservation

Sales tax holiday weekend: Save money, water

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If you’ve had additional time around the house in the last two months, you may have considered sprucing up your landscape with water-efficient plants or replacing your leaky faucets. You just needed a good deal to save a little money.

Thanks to the state comptroller, that deal is here. During this weekend’s sales tax holiday, you can purchase certain water– and energy-efficient products through Memorial Day. The sales tax holiday was created by the legislature in 2015  to incentivize Texans to make the most efficient use of our limited water resources.

With the COVID-19 outbreak, the controller tweaked the rules a  bit. You don’t have to make your tax-free purchases in-store since many people now order online and have the products shipped. A complete explanation of how it all works is on the comptroller’s website.

Tax-exempt items are things you can use to help conserve or retain groundwater (where College Station’s water comes from), recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature to reduce evaporation. Highlights include:

  • WaterSense labeled products can be bought for business or personal purposes. Business and rental property owners take note!
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hoses.
  • Moisture controls for sprinklers or irrigation systems such as a rain shutoff switch or soil moisture sensor.
  • Rain barrels. If a barrel isn’t on your project list now, don’t worry — rainwater harvesting equipment is always exempt from state sales tax.
  • Plants, trees, and grasses.
  • Soil and compost.

WaterSense products go through an independent third-party certification process and meet EPA’s specifications for water efficiency and performance. Having water-saving products in your home or business not only trims your water bill but also delivers exceptional performance for years.

Stay cool this weekend, and enjoy your savings!

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 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 a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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Sales tax holiday can save you money — and water

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

The Memorial Day weekend in the Brazos Valley will be busy with the Texas Weekend of Remembrance, high school graduations, dance recitals, athletic events, and more.

The return of sunny, warm weather also means it an ideal time to make your home and landscape more efficient. If you upgrade your irrigation controller, install a rain sensor, and add mulch to your drought-tolerant plants this weekend, it’s all tax-free.

The Texas Comptroller’s Office has declared a sales tax holiday from Saturday through Monday on the purchase of certain water– and energy-efficient products. This year marks the third time the tax holiday has provided an incentive for Texans to conserve our limited water resources.

Eligible tax-exempt items are things that can be used to conserve or retain groundwater, recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature to reduce water lost to evaporation. Among the eligible items are:

  • WaterSense-labeled products.
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hoses.
  • Moisture control for sprinkler or irrigation systems (rain shutoff switches or soil moisture sensors).
  • Rain barrels (rainwater harvesting equipment is always exempt from state sales tax).
  • Permeable ground cover surfaces that allow water to reach underground basins, aquifers or water collection points.
  • Plants, trees, and grasses.
  • Soil and compost.

WaterSense-labeled products go through an independent, third-party certification process and meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s specifications for efficiency and performance. The beauty is having water-saving products in your home or business that deliver exceptional performance and savings on water bills for years to come.

For more information, visit the Texas Comptroller’s Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday webpage.

Stay cool this weekend and get ready for water and energy savings!

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 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 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

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Thomas Park Improvements: In the workshop, the council will discuss options for improvements to Thomas Park. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommends a covered tennis court, a dog park and two covered picnic tables on the park’s north end.
  2. Traffic Signal at Barron-Alexandria: The consent agenda includes a $282,000 contract to install a traffic signal at the Barron Road-Alexandria Avenue intersection.
  3. Water Conservation and Drought Plans: Also on the consent agenda are updates to the city’s drought contingency and water conservation plans.
  4. Bird Pond Road Development: After a pair of public hearings, the commission will consider a request to change the land use and zoning for about 13 acres northeast of the Rock Prairie-Bird Pond intersection. The changes would allow the development of a residential subdivision.
  5. Lick Creek Sewer Line: The council will consider a $10.9 million contract with Thalle Construction for the Lick Creek Trunk Line Project. The sewer line will extend from the Lick Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant through the southern boundary of Pebble Creek Country Club and tie into an existing line north of Fitch Parkway.

Related Links:                                                                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also 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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State honors BV WaterSmart for conservation impact

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If you’re among the more than 500 College Station residents who’ve signed up to receive irrigation notices from Brazos Valley WaterSmart, you’ve seen the impact of the innovative program on your water bill. For those of us who keep an eye on our precious aquifers, the impact has been even more dramatic.

The program’s goal is to improve residential outdoor water use and reduce landscape overwatering, and it’s succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations. When you consider our population has grown by about 30 percent since the 2010 Census, the results are downright astounding.

The water budgets it generates and other interventions such as our irrigation checkups have reduced the number of high-volume single-family residential consumers in College Station by nearly 50 percent.  Since the program’s inception in 2010, the cumulative reduction in water use in College Station is more than 630 million gallons of water. That’s about how much our community consumes in two full winter months.

The program has even had a positive effect on the efficient use of your tax dollars, trimming the City of College Station’s electric bill by at least $110,000 a year because of reduced pumping, treatment, and electricity needed for distribution.

It’s not surprising that others across the state have noticed our miracle on the Brazos.

Last week, Brazos Valley WaterSmart received the prestigious Blue Legacy Award from the Texas Water Development Board as part of “Texas Water Day at the Capitol” in Austin. The award recognizes those who have demonstrated an outstanding and innovative commitment to the state’s mission of promoting responsible management of water resources and the conservation of our water resources.

Brazos Valley WaterSmart is an educational and research partnership of Texas A&M University, the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District, and the City of College Station. That means a lot of outstanding people are behind this tremendous success story.

How BV WaterSmart Happened

Faculty, staff and graduate students from the A&M’s Water Management and Hydrological Science degree program, Texas AgriLife Research, and the Texas Center for Applied Technology worked with staff from the city and district to develop the program. Agriculture and Life Sciences Professor Ronald Kaiser is the director.

The research team found that about half of the water used in College Station and Bryan is for landscape, lawn, and outdoor purposes. They knew that helping the community find creative and innovative ways to be more efficient was the key to significant savings.

The six programs they created include weather stations, a website, personalized weekly watering notifications, residential water budgets, free residential irrigation system inspections, water conservation seminars, and public service announcements. Each program focuses on a different aspect of outdoor water usage to educate residents on ways to conserve.

To everyone involved — especially the environmental technicians who work on specifying, installing, and maintaining the weather stations and rain gauges that make up the weather-based watering recommendations — WAY TO GO!

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 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 a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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Can you imagine a day without water?

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

Think a moment about your typical morning routine.

You wake up and make a steaming cup of fresh coffee or tea before heading to the toilet and the shower. After you get dressed in freshly washed clothes, you eat a nutritious breakfast and clean your dishes in the dishwasher or sink.

Of course, you make your dentist happy by brushing your teeth.

Now, imagine for a moment that you had no water. None of your morning activities would be possible without safe and reliable water and the infrastructure that delivers it to your home.

If you’ve never gone without water, it’s almost impossible to envision a day without it. Your water service may have temporarily been shut off to repair a leak, but you had full confidence that the water would soon flow again.

Today is the fourth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water. The Value of Water Campaign is helping hundreds of organizations across the country host events and spearhead projects aimed at raising awareness about the crucial need for investing in our nation’s water infrastructure.

After decades of underfunding, water infrastructure across the nation has aged and needs replacement or significant repairs. Drought, flooding, and population changes have dramatically increased the stress on our water and wastewater systems.

According to the Value of Water Campaign’s report on The Economic Benefits of Investing in Water Infrastructure, a one-day disruption in water services at a national level would result in a $43.5 billion loss in sales for businesses. In just eight days, a national water service stoppage would put nearly two million jobs in jeopardy.

In contrast, for each job created in the water sector, 3.68 jobs are added to the national economy. For every $1 spent on infrastructure improvements, the United States generates $6 in economic returns. That’s a sound investment.

It’s not all gloom and doom. College Station’s water and wastewater systems are young compared to many cities. For the most part, we’ve been able to stay ahead of our infrastructure needs. Each day – including weekends and holidays – our Water Services employees maintain 454 miles of water lines, 363 miles of wastewater lines, nine groundwater wells, and three wastewater treatment plants.

City councils and community leaders through the years have recognized that water is essential to the quality of life and economic competitiveness and have supported the water and wastewater rates necessary to maintain award-winning water and wastewater systems.

At Monday’s city council meeting, Mayor Karl Mooney read an official proclamation (at right) for Imagine a Day Without Water to draw attention to the many ways we maintain critical water and wastewater infrastructure.

How you can help

No community can thrive without water, and every American deserves safe, reliable, and accessible water.

You can help by conserving water. Since irrigation water gushing down the street benefits no one, sign up for landscape watering recommendations from Brazos Valley WaterSmart. Every gallon of water saved is a gallon left in the Simsboro Aquifer for later use.

You can also help keep our waterways clean by avoiding over-fertilizing, picking up litter, and disposing of hazardous waste at Household Hazardous Waste collection events like the one scheduled for Oct. 20. Improperly discarded fertilizer, motor oil, and litter make its way into our creeks, which feed into the Navasota and Brazos Rivers – and someone is drinking that water downstream.

A groundswell of communities and partners have come together to promote safe and reliable water systems with Imagine a Day Without Water. We can make a difference by leveraging our collective power, educating our decision-makers, and inspiring our communities to make water infrastructure a priority.

Let’s invest in our water systems, so no American ever has to live a day without water.

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 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 a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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Summer workshops are the key to smart yard irrigation

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

With July being Smart Irrigation Month, it’s an ideal time to improve the efficiency of your outdoor irrigation system.

The City of College Station is here to help.

If learning how to program your sprinkler controller, spot irrigation leaks, and cut your water bills rank high (or at least somewhere) among your summer goals, you’ll want to attend one of College Station Water Services’ free summer workshops.

The first one is Saturday, followed by additional sessions on July 21 and Aug. 4. Each workshop is from 9:30 a.m.-noon at the College Station Utilities Meeting and Training Facility at 1603 Graham Rd.

Each participating household receives a rain gauge, soil moisture meter, and $25 gift card to a home improvement store to start you on your way to saving water. Residents will learn valuable sprinkler system maintenance tips, see the latest in water-saving sprinkler technology, get pro tips from a licensed irrigator, and learn how to receive weekly watering advice from the Brazos Valley Water Smart Network.

If you bring a friend, you’re eligible for a bonus prize!

If you can answer “yes” to at least one of the following statements, make plans to attend one of the workshops.

  • You water three or more times per week and are afraid that scaling back your schedule will damage your lawn.
  • You have a small lot or water only a small backyard, but your summer water bill exceeds $30-40.
  • You’ve had high summer bills in the past and want to avoid a repeat.
  • You don’t receive weekly watering recommendations from Brazos Valley Water Smart.
  • Your driveway or front sidewalk is wet after every irrigation cycle.
  • You have dry spots in your yard despite regular watering and don’t know how to fix it.
  • You don’t know how much water your system uses or how much your lawn needs.
  • Your irrigation system doesn’t have a rain shut-off device — or you don’t know what one is!
  • You see fogging or misting when your sprinkler system operates.

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

 


About the Blogger

Jennifer Nations has been the City of College Station’s water resource coordinator since 1999 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 a master’s degree in water management & hydrologic science from Texas A&M in 2016.


 

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