Posts tagged “water conservation

This weekend’s tax holiday can save money — and water

By Jennifer Nations, Water Resource Coordinator

If your landscape needs a spruce-up, this weekend is the ideal time to upgrade your irrigation controller, install a rain sensor, and add mulch to your new drought-tolerant plants.

And it’s all tax-free.

The state comptroller’s office is offering a sales tax holiday Saturday through Monday on the purchase of certain water-efficient products. The tax holiday was made possible by legislation passed in 2015 that provides an incentive for Texans to conserve our limited water resources.

Eligible tax-exempt items can be used to conserve or retain groundwater, recharge water tables, or decrease ambient air temperature, which reduces evaporation. For example, mulch is tax exempt because it cools the soil and helps retain water.

Other tax-free items include:

  • WaterSense labeled products.
  • Soaker or drip-irrigation hose.
  • Moisture control for a sprinkler or irrigation system.
  • Rain barrel or an alternative rain and moisture collection system.
  • Permeable ground cover surface that allows 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 EPA’s specifications for efficiency and performance. The beauty of WaterSense is having water-saving products in your home or business that deliver exceptional performance and savings on water bills for years to come.

In addition to tax savings, rebates for toilets and rain barrels are available for College Station water customers.

Take advantage of this opportunity to help conserve our water resources while saving yourself some cash. For more information visit the Water-Efficient Products Sales Tax Holiday page on the Texas Comptroller’s website.

 


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.


Image Copyright: raywoo/123RF Stock Photo 

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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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (August 25)

2014 Council

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, August 25. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:30 p.m.

The workshop has started.

5:39 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled this consent item for workshop discussion:

  • Resealing Concrete Joints on Streets: The $591,000 contract with Scodeller is for the resealing of concrete joints on city streets. The contract includes cleaning, sealant and traffic control, and may be renewed for up to two additional one-year terms.
  • Game Day Traffic Control Agreement: As part of the city’s partnership with the Texas A&M University System and other local agencies, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and city staff developed a traffic control plan to move traffic efficiently after A&M football games. Funds have been appropriated in the Public Works Street Division budget to cover the cost of traffic control deployment. Staff intends to bid the deployment of the equipment and this ILA will allow A&M to cover up to $57,000 of the annual cost.

6:17 p.m.

Water Conservation Efforts

The council heard a presentation about the city’s water conservation efforts, including rebates, irrigation checkups, water waste reductions, conservation-oriented water rates, reclaimed water, rainwater harvesting and the Brazos Valley WaterSmart network.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:31 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items, and committee reports. The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

The regular meeting has started. Boy Scout Troop 1300 led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Scout

7:05 p.m.

Mayor Nancy Berry presented a plaque to Planning & Development Services Director Lance Simms recognizing his department for receiving the 2016 Certificate of Achievement for Planning Excellence issued by the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Presentation1

7:08 p.m.

Mayor Berry presented a proclamation recognizing Municipal Court Operations Supervisor Marie Barringer for becoming a certified court manager after her recent graduation from the Court Management Program. The program is sponsored by the Institute for Court Management and the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center. Since 2000, about 500 court professionals from across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have achieved certification.

Presentation2

7:10 p.m.

The council thanked Wayne Beckermann of Texas A&M’s Student Government Association for representing the A&M student body at council meetings over the last year. Beckermann introduced student senators Joseph Hood, Ben DeLeon, and Carter Stratham, and announced that Stratham would be the new student liaison to the council.

7:13 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Army Spc. Michael G. Karr, Jr., as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 23-year-old San Antonio native died March 31, 2004, when an improvised explosive device hit his armored personnel carrier in Habbaniyah, Iraq.

7:13 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A resolution allowing the mayor to sign a $43,500 advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the city’s cost participation in the reconstruction of the FM 2818 and FM 60 interchange.
  • A resolution setting Sept. 22 (3 p.m.) as a public hearing date regarding possible water and wastewater impact fees.
  • Renewal of an inter-local agreement with the City of Bryan for management of the Larry J. Ringer Library.
  • Bid awards of $114,500 to Wesco Distribution and $10,020 to CAPP, USA for distribution circuit breakers and relays.
  • A change order increasing the contract with BerryDunn by $107,475 for additional project management services and expenses.
  • A $67,410 contract with Stantec Consulting Services for final design and construction phase services for the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Blower Replacement Project.
  • A $59,400 contract with DXI Industries for up to 90,000 gallons of sodium hypochlorite solution for the disinfection of the public drinking water supply.
  • Ordered a general and special election on Nov. 8 to elect a mayor and Place 2 city councilmember, and to fill a the final two years of the unexpired term for Place 4 and the final year of the unexpired term for place 3. The ordinance also establishes early voting locations and polling places, and making provisions for conducting the election.
  • A contract not to exceed $591,000 with Scodeller Construction for concrete joint resealing on city streets.
  • A $580,450 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates for the design and construction phase services for Phase I of the Northeast Trunk Line Project and a preliminary engineering report for the phases 2-4.
  • A five-year Inter-local agreement with Texas A&M to equally share in the traffic control device deployment costs under the Texas A&M Football Postgame Traffic Control Plan. The anticipated annual maximum reimbursement from A&M is $57,000.
  • An $85,043 contract with N-Line Traffic Maintenance for 2016 A&M football game day traffic control implementation.

7:33 p.m.

Science Park Comp Plan Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the land use designation from Business Park to General Commercial for about 14 acres near The Science Park across Earl Rudder Freeway from Beachy Central Park. The change will allow for commercial development. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:42 p.m.

Science Park Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Planned Industrial to General Commercial for the same property in the previous item.  

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:51 p.m.

Horseback Court Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to Restricted Suburban and Natural Areas Protected for about 13 acres at 2744 Horseback Court. The change will allow for residential development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:51 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Sept. 8.


Colin KillianAbout 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 Texas A&M Athletics. 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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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 (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Water Conservation Efforts: The council will hear a workshop presentation about the city’s water conservation programs.
  2. Northeast Sewer Trunk Line: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $580,000 contract for design and construction services for Phase I of the Northeast Trunk Line Project and a preliminary engineering report for future phases.
  3. Game Day Traffic Control Agreement: The consent agenda also includes a five-year inter-local agreement with Texas A&M to share the deployment costs of traffic control devices. The expected maximum annual reimbursement from the university is $57,000.
  4. Rezoning Near The Science Park: After a pair of public hearings, the council will consider a request to change the land use and zoning designations for about 14 acres along the Rudder Freeway frontage road near The Science Park. The changes will allow for commercial development.
  5. Horseback Court Rezoning: The council will consider a request to change to zoning from Rural to Restricted Commercial and Natural Areas Protected for about 13 acres at 2744 Horseback Court.

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:                                                                 

 


Colin KillianAbout 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

W4W 018

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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