How Can You Help Save Water in Abilene?
Year Round Water Use Management is triggered when the Lake Fort Phantom Hill is less than 5 feet below the spillway. At this stage, outdoor watering has been expanded to three times per week. Please refer to the chart below to see when your designated days are for watering.
Despite moving to Year Round Water Management from Stage 1 water conservation, City officials still encourage residents to conserve water by watering their lawn once every seven days on one of the designated water days.
3-Day a Week Watering Schedule
When Lake Fort Phantom is less than 5 feet below spillway:
|Odd Number Addresses||Wednesday, Friday, & Sunday||Midnight to 10am & 6pm to Midnight|
|Even Number Addresses||Tuesday, Thursday, & Saturday||Midnight to 10am & 6pm to Midnight|
|Industrial, commercial, government customers, public & private schools, & universities||Monday, Wednesday, & Friday||Midnight to 10am & 6pm to Midnight|
Dishwasher – Make it a Full Load
Whether a full or partial load, each run uses 15 gallons of water. To save water, wait for a full load before running the dishwasher.
Toilets Use the Most Water
The standard toilet uses 3.5 gallons of water per flush. To conserve, do not use it as a trash can, consider an eco-friendly toilet or retrofit device, and check for leaks, which can waste 100 gallons of water a day.
Prevent Over-Watering Your Lawn
Most don’t realize, when it comes to keeping your lawn green and lush, your grass only needs an inch of water a week. Fifteen minutes per sprinkler station should be more than sufficient.
Laundry Uses Second Most Water
The average family does 400 loads of laundry a year and is where we use the second most amount of household water. To save, wait till the washer is full before running a load, and consider getting with a high efficiency washing machine.
Bath vs Shower
We may think a bath saves more water than a shower, but actually, an average bath uses 36 gallons of water verses a 10-minute shower that uses 25 gallons. To conserve, plug the drain as soon as the bath water is turned on and adjust the temperature while its running.
Consider a Shorter Shower
A shower uses 2.5 gallons of water a minute. Any shower longer than 10 minutes is wasteful. To conserve, install water-saving showerheads, shower timers, and low-flow faucet aerators, and take shorter showers.
Brush Teeth with Faucet Off
We use 5 gallons of water when we leave the faucet running each time we brush our teeth. By turning the faucet off, you will save 2 gallons of water a minute. Also, consider adding a low-flow aerator to the faucet.
2018 Water Quality & Annual Reports
The City of Abilene is committed to keeping each resident and business informed on the latest news concerning our water resources and educating on conservation, processes and services provided.
Each year, the City of Abilene provides residents and businesses with a water quality report that summarizes the quality of water provided to customers, based on data from the most recent EPA-required tests. Through vigilant oversight, the City of Abilene's Water Utilities Department is dedicated to providing high-quality, safe water.
It begins with the city’s reservoirs, which provide good-quality raw water. Along the water’s journey into customers’ homes and businesses, trained, certified operators consistently work to meet stringent water quality standards. Water is analyzed in all stages of production, from the city’s creeks, lakes, treatment plants, and distribution system, ensuring that it is safe to drink. We are proud to report that our drinking water meets or exceeds all United States Environmental Protection Agency drinking water requirements.
Click the button above to see this summary detailing the quality of the water the city provides, as well an annual report of information about the water utilities department and its various functions. We hope this information helps you become more knowledgeable about what is in your drinking water.
If you would like more information about Abilene’s water quality, water assessments and protection efforts, please call the City of Abilene’s environmental laboratory at (325) 676-6041.
- When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
- Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
- If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
- Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
- Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
- Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
- Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
- Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
- Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
- Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
- Reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
- Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
- Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary.
- If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
- Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water house plants.
- When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website* to compare water use between models.
- When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
- Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.
- When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.
- Have a plumber re-route your greywater to trees and plants rather than the sewer line.
- When buying a washer, check the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website* to compare water use between models.
- If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense model.
- Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
- Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
- Toilet leaks can be silent! Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
- Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
- When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
- Upgrade older toilets with water-saving WaterSense models.
- If your toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, replace it.
- Use a WaterSense showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
- Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
- If your toilet was installed before 1992, purchasing a WaterSense toilet can reduce the amount of water used for each flush.
- Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
- Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
- Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
- When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
- Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
- Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
- Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
- One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.
- While you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants.
- Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
- When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
- Monitor your water bill for unusually high use.
- Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
- Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
- Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
- Fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
- Hire a Green Plumber to help reduce your water, energy, and chemical use.
- Regularly look for leaks. Check all hoses, connectors, and faucets regularly for leaks.
- At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
- Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
- Use porous material for walkways and patios to prevent wasteful runoff and keep water in your yard.
- Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
- Choose the right West Texas-friendly plants and watch them thrive in our desert environment.
- Reduce the amount of lawn in your yard by planting shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
- Plant in the spring and fall, when the watering requirements are lower.
- When sprucing up your front or backyard, consider xeriscaping. This landscape method uses low-water-use plants to limit your water use.
- Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
- Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
- Start a compost pile. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
- Use a layer of organic mulch on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
- Spreading a 2-4 inch layer of organic mulch around plants helps them retain moisture, saving water, time and money.
- Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant and save up to 550 gallons each year.
- Collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts. Direct the runoff to plants and trees.
- For automatic water savings, direct water from HVAC systems to water-loving plants in your landscape.
- Hire a qualified pro to install your irrigation system and keep it working properly and efficiently.
- Hire a Smartscape Certified professional landscaper who has received landscape training specific to West Texas.
- Adjust your lawn mower to the height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass shades roots and holds soil moisture better than short grass.
- Leave lawn clippings on your grass, this cools the ground and holds in moisture.
- If installing a lawn, select a lawn mix or blend that matches your climate and site conditions.
- Aerate your lawn periodically. Holes every six inches will allow water to reach the roots, rather than run off the surface.
- If walking across the lawn leaves footprints (blades don’t spring back up), then it is time to water.
- Let your lawn go dormant (brown) during the winter. Dormant grass only needs to be watered every three to four weeks, less if it rains.
- Avoid overseeding your lawn with winter grass. Ryegrass needs water every few days, whereas Dormant Bermuda grass needs water monthly.
- Remember to weed your lawn and garden regularly. Weeds compete with other plants for nutrients, light and water.
- While fertilizers promote plant growth, they also increase water consumption. Apply the minimum amount of fertilizer needed.
- Catch water in an empty tuna can to measure sprinkler output. 3/4 to 1 inch of water is enough to apply each time you irrigate.
- Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top 2 to 3 inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.
- Set a kitchen timer when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons per minute.
- Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
- Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
- Look for WaterSense irrigation controllers and learn how to set it properly.
- Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.
- Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
- If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
- Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
- When leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and algae or fungi grow, these are signs of overwatering.
- Adjust your watering schedule each month to match seasonal weather conditions and landscape requirements.
- Install a rain sensor on your irrigation controller so your system won’t run when it’s raining.
- Water dry spots by hand instead of running the whole irrigation system longer.
- Don’t water your lawn on windy days when most of the water blows away or evaporates.
- Use drip irrigation for shrubs and trees to apply water directly to the roots, where it’s needed.
- Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
- Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
- Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.
- For hanging baskets, planters and pots, put ice cubes on top of the soil to give your plants a cool drink of water without overflow.
- Remember to periodically check your sprinkler system valves for leaks, and to keep sprinkler heads in good shape.
- Give your irrigation sytem a checkup each Spring to ensure it’s working efficiently.
- Proper pruning can help your plants use water more efficiently.
- Use a pool cover to help keep your pool clean, reduce chemical use and prevent water loss through evaporation.
- Make sure your swimming pools, fountains and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
- If you have an automatic refilling device, check your pool periodically for leaks.
- When back-washing your pool, consider using the water on salt-tolerant plants in the landscape.
- Minimize or eliminate the use of waterfalls and sprays in your pool. Aeration increases evaporation.
- Don’t overfill your pool. Lower water levels will reduce water loss due to splashing.
- Keep water in the pool when playing, it will save water.
- Instead of building a private pool, join a community pool.
- Trickling or cascading fountains lose less water to evaporation than those that spray water into the air.
- Use a grease pencil to conduct a bucket test to check for pool leaks. An unnatural water level drop may indicate a leak.
- Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
- For more immediate hot water and energy savings, insulate hot water pipes.
- Use a commercial car wash that recycles water. Or, wash your car on the lawn, and you’ll water your grass at the same time.
- Use a hose nozzle or turn off the water while you wash your car. You’ll save up to 100 gallons every time.
- Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
- When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
- When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.
- Set water softeners for a minimum number of refills to save both water and chemicals, plus energy, too.
- Report broken pipes, leaky hydrants and errant sprinklers to property owners or has
- Know where your master water shut-off valve is located. If a pipe were to burst, this could save gallons of water and prevent damage.
Water Conservation History in Abilene
Abilene experienced it's greatest day of water consumption in July 1980 when 49 million gallons of water was used. There were no limits or conservation plans in place for water customers. By 1985, the Texas Legislature recognized that conservation was much more economical then developing new water resources and made it a key factor in granting water permits.
Drought conditions in the late 1980s and again in 1999-2000 spurred city leaders to plan for Abilene's future water needs. Their strategy had three primary components:
- The purchase of water from a third reservoir, Lake O.H. Ivie, 86 miles south of Abilene.
- Development of a new reclaimed water use program that provided treated wastewater effluent to large irrigation customers, such as golf courses, parks, and universities, which previously used drinking water to nourish their green spaces.
- The creation of Abilene's water conservation plan – based on best practices and developed in cooperation with master gardeners, landscape professionals, and city staff. Our water conservation plan enables residents to save millions of gallons of water every year.
These measures have helped Abilene save billions of gallons of water. In 2011, we had the single worst climate year in our history with high temperatures and drought. However, the changes worked. In 2011, only 37 million gallons of water were used on our peak day. For the entire year of 2011, the city used 1 billion fewer gallons than we did in 1998 and we even had 14,000 more residents.
Today, the Big Country continues to face new, ongoing drought conditions. The City of Abilene is once again taking a leadership role to provide additional water supplies to the region. Our strategy includes projects to provide additional water now, over the next few years (as conditions require), and for future generations to come. Recent and current projects include:
- An expansion of our reclaimed water use program constructed a brand new, state-of-the-art Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility to take an average of 7 MGD (Million Gallons per Day) of the existing treated wastewater effluent and provide additional treatment, to include reverse osmosis. It is being released back into Lake Fort Phantom Hill where it will undergo nature’s biological treatment process and add to our water supplies.
- The City of Abilene is making arrangements to purchase additional water supplies from Possum Kingdom Reservoir. This project includes the necessary pipeline and treatment facilities to respond to changing drought conditions into the foreseeable future.
- An expansion of the City’s water treatment facilities for Lake O.H. Ivie is increasing the total production capacity of the Hargesheimer Water Treatment Plant. This will make the treatment plant more efficient and allow for the treatment of more water from this vital water supply source.
- Finally, the City of Abilene is diligently working to acquire the necessary State and Federal permits to construct a new reservoir on the Brazos River. Cedar Ridge Reservoir is being proposed northwest of Albany and will provide new water supplies to the entire region. Once permitted and constructed, Cedar Ridge will provide new water supplies to the region for generations to come.
Thanks to the support of Abilene residents and businesses, we are proud of how our city continues to adapt to drought conditions, a growing population, and increasing demands on our water supply.
When we turn on the tap, we take for granted that water will flow. But where does Abilene’s water actually come from?
The water we use every day originates from three local lakes. From there, it travels through underground raw water transmission lines to Abilene’s water treatment facilities, where it is purified to drinking water standards before being delivered to our homes and businesses.
Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir
Lake Fort Phantom Hill is between Farm roads 600 and 2833 five miles south of Nugent in the extreme southeast corner of Jones County (at 32°37' N, 99°40' W). The lake, impounded by a dam on Elm Creek, a tributary of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, covers a surface area of 4,246 acres and provides a storage capacity of 74,310 acre-feet.
The city of Abilene owns and operates the lake for municipal and recreational purposes. Construction began in June 1937 and was finished in October 1938. Since that time Abilene has developed parks on the lake and has diverted water from the Clear Fork and Deadman Creek to the lake in order to meet the needs of the area's growing population.
Connie Ricci, "FORT PHANTOM HILL RESERVOIR," Handbook of Texas Online (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rof07*), accessed July 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Hubbard Creek Reservoir
Hubbard Creek Lake is on Hubbard Creek in the Brazos River basin about six miles northwest of Breckenridge in northwestern Stephens County. Construction began in May 1961 and the dam was completed in December 1962. In the 1990s, the reservoir had a conservation storage capacity of 317,800 acre-feet and a conservation surface area of 15,250 acres at an elevation of 1,183 feet above mean sea level, with a lake shoreline of 100 miles. The lake is owned by the West Central Texas Municipal Water Authority and serves as a source of water for industry, mining, and nearby municipalities, including Abilene, Albany, Anson, and Breckenridge.
Seth D. Breeding, "HUBBARD CREEK RESERVOIR," Handbook of Texas Online (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/roh07*), accessed July 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
O. H. Ivie Reservoir
The O. H. Ivie Reservoir, once called Stacy Reservoir, impounded by the S. W. Freese Dam at the Concho-Coleman county line, is located in Concho, Coleman, and Runnels counties. The United States Army Corps of Engineers first expressed a desire for a reservoir site near the confluence of the Concho and Colorado rivers in 1938. However, it wasn’t started until 1985 and completed in 1990. The reservoir was named to honor the water district's general manager, O. H. Ivie. The lake waters are used for domestic and municipal water supply for a number of West Texas cities and towns. The conservation surface area of the lake is 20,000 surface acres. The reservoir and its two-mile rolled earthfill dam are owned and operated by the Colorado River Municipal Water District*. The lake drains an area of 3,300 square miles and has a pool elevation of 1,551 feet.
"O. H. IVIE RESERVOIR," Handbook of Texas Online (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/roogh), accessed July 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Contact Save Abilene Water
Have questions regarding the water ordinance, current conservation status, or other? Contact Save Abilene Water by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions regarding a water bill? Please visit municipalonlinepayments.com/abilenetx
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