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Woodway water budget accounting for lower water use this summer

Posted at 8:48 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 21:48:59-04

CENTRAL TEXAS — As our wet summer continues, the gloomy skies have managed to bring a little sunshine to the wallets of homeowners.

The rain has helped to keep away some of the typical August heat, but the benefits haven't stopped there. The excess water has saved homeowners the trouble of turning on the spigots to water the lawn. Round Rock resident Marcia Rogers has been pleased with the results.

"We love it for our grass," said Rogers. "You know, usually in the summertime, the grass starts to get a little brown. But this year it has stayed green and we're thrilled about that."

Greener grass may be putting a little more green back into people's pockets. But did the lack of water use for irrigation actually take a bite out of money going into suburban water departments? Shawn Oubre, a manager with the City of Woodway, thinks it might have.

"We don't have our numbers back from August but we did see a decrease in total consumption in the June and July months," said Oubre.

Oubre says it's hard to pinpoint exactly what lead to the drop-off but he adds that less water for lawn and garden care may be part of it. Despite the dip, the city is running ahead of their expected consumption for the year.

"When you spread it out all over the fiscal year, and ours runs through September of this year, we're really running ahead at 3.2% of total consumption," said Oubre.

What could be the reason Woodway made headway earlier in the year? Oubre theorizes it is due to the growing population of the town. In the event that a large deficit in water usage were to show up, it wouldn't exactly be a major blow to the town's budget.

The city collects revenue using other taxes. Oubre notes that while they can make a little money from water bills, the money collected is mainly used for the upkeep of the water and sewer services. Woodway can help to recover any losses from smaller water bills by pulling from other specific funds.

"We have some reserves to be used for that kind of a purpose. To gap it," said Oubre.

Our First Alert 25 forecast has some drier weather returning soon, but for the time being, it sounds like Texans are appreciating the perks of free water from the sky.

"We do have a sprinkler system and we run it occasionally when we don't get a rain, but this year it's been pretty good about it," said Rogers.

The Hewitt Water Department declined to speak on camera about the state of their water budget, but a representative over the phone was able to confirm that they have also seen a drop in residential water use this season.