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Population and Water Resources in Texas

Posted By Karen E. Menard, Wednesday, July 6, 2016


All Things H2O                                                               July 2016 Issue                    

Population and Water Resources in Texas

Texas is a great place to live and apparently the word is out! Texas has experienced a significant population increase from 2014 to 2015 of 512,156 people. This brings the total population to approximately 7.1 million. That is a lot of people!

That is also a lot of water to be supplied to our newest friends with the average US citizen requiring approximately 100 gallons of water per day. Texas is also a very large state with many different climates across the state. Each climate comes with its own water resource issues. In West Texas (El Paso) we have issues with extreme drought, in North Central Texas (DFW) we have a cycle of drought and excessive rain, and near the coast of Texas (Houston) we are dealing with an excess of water.


Source: Enhanced, modified, and vectorized by Ali Zifan. - Derived from World Koppen Classification.svg.


Since I live, work and play in North Texas I will focus on the issues we are dealing with here in the DFW metroplex.

Here in DFW we can all feel the pressure from the rapidly expanding population. We can feel it in our real estate market, job market, and even on our daily commute. In fact, according to the census bureau, the DFW metroplex has had the second largest population increase in Texas.


Source: US census


Our water utilities are really feeling this pressure too. We all know water is a finite resource and that another Texas drought can be just around the corner. Some utilities have been planning on this population boom and have been working to find solutions. There are actions that both cities and its citizens can perform to help mitigate the effects of our population boom on our water resources.



Over the last 5 years, I have noticed more cities in our region creating positions for environmental and water educators. Education is key to change. First you must inform the public of the limited water resource then offer solutions for water conservation.





· Host education/awareness workshops

· Incorporate education in the city’s newsletter

· Attend workshops

· Request workshops for your HOA or community organization

· Take the information the educator provides and put it into practice at home





Purple pipe carries treated sewage water, or reuse water. It is most commonly used to irrigate golf courses and cemeteries. It can even be treated with microfiltration and reverse osmosis and sent through our water plants again to be used as potable tap water. Wichita Falls was a wonderful example of utilizing reuse water for drinking water during their devastating drought from 2010 to 2015.  Some have an aversion to the thought of drinking reuse water but remember all water on this planet is, in some form, reuse water.





· Use purple pipe to irrigate city properties

· Conduct education workshops covering the benefits of reuse water

· Ask your local government to consider using reuse water to supplement water taken from natural resources

· Consider a gray water system for your own irrigation needs





Rainwater harvesting is collecting rainwater from the surfaces around your property, such as various roofs, and using the water for irrigation purposes or drinking water. This method of water collection has been used for many, many generations and is very easy to implement. If you’re in Denton and drive by the Denton county buildings on Loop 288 you will see several large silver water tanks. These are the rainwater collection tanks that the county use to irrigate their grounds.





· Conduct education workshops

· Utilize irrigation method on city properties

· Attend an informational workshop

· Implement a rainwater system for use on your own lawns and gardens





Artificial reservoirs are man-made lakes for the purpose of extending the available water resource. Water treatment entities, such as Upper Trinity Regional Water District (UTRWD) in Lewisville, are in the process of building artificial reservoirs at this very moment. UTRWD’s Lake Ralph Hall will provide 30 million gallons per day of water once built and filled. North Texas Municipal Water District in Wylie is building the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir which will supply 113 million gallons per day once filled.





· Research and identify if an artificial reservoir is physically and fiscally possible

· Inform the public of the reservoirs benefit

· Support your local government, or water supplier, in their decision to build such reservoirs



As you can see, all cities are responsible for water conservation, to provide education, and become an example of good stewardship of our water future. A citizen’s responsibility is to absorb the information and either put it into practice in their own life or support their city in projects to conserve water. With everyone doing just a little to help protect our water future. We can make every drop count!




Sarai Heskett is a water professional who started her career as a water treatment plant operator and senior laboratory technician for the City of Wichita Falls in 2007. In 2012 she moved to DFW and worked as a water quality technician for the City of Carrollton. In 2015 she took an internship, while in college, at Upper Trinity Regional Water District before graduating from Texas Woman’s University in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. Sarai can be reached at  


Tags:  population  resources  sarai heskett  texas  water 

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