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Audits provide conservation lesson

We don’t want to spoil your weekend, but if you’re making a to-do list for household projects today, be sure and remind yourself to check on a water audit.

An audit can provide a lot of worthwhile advice on how to better conserve water. Denton residents may call the city water department to check out what’s available, officials told us. A new auditor was expected to be hired soon.

Haley Salazar of Denton water utilities has posted a self-audit checklist on the city’s website,, or residents can call her at 940-349-7151 to schedule an audit.

The Upper Trinity Regional Water District, the wholesale supplier for many water services elsewhere in the county, also will be offering water audits, officials have said.

The district plans to target residential customers first, helping them locate leaks and inefficiencies. Later, the district may offer the audits to commercial and industrial customers who need help finding ways to reduce their use.

Other North Texas cities and agencies can also provide valuable information about conserving water, which needs to be a top priority.

Denton County rainfall totals remain about 7 inches behind this year, and that’s not good news considering where we are on the calendar. Typically, July and August aren’t rainmaking months. Those come in September and October.

Although it eased briefly late last year, the drought has returned to extreme conditions in Denton County, officials said. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows most North Texas counties north of Interstate 30 and west of Bonham and Greenville in either extreme or exceptional drought.

This year could be the fifth consecutive year of below-average precipitation for Denton County. The area normally sees about 38.09 inches of precipitation each year, according to the National Weather Service, but residents haven’t seen that much fall here since 2009.

Conservation won’t solve all our water woes — Denton County and other parts of North Texas are growing fast, bringing ever-increasing demand for our state’s most valuable resource. But Upper Trinity Regional Water District officials told us that water conservation could meet as much as 24 percent of the state’s needs in the next 50 years.

Other resources, including the newly approved Lake Ralph Hall in the Sulphur River basin, will also help and are long overdue. When the district received the state permit for Lake Ralph Hall last year, it was the first major reservoir Texas had approved in 30 years.

But we have to have rainfall to fill reservoirs, and in spite of sporadic showers and some cooler temperatures, the ongoing drought has continued to emphasize the need for stricter municipal limits on water usage and increased conservation efforts by residents.

The district is shooting to have its customers meet the goal of the state’s water plan: 140 gallons per capita daily. Only a handful of cities in the district have reported lower consumption to the Texas Water Development Board, according to that agency’s most recent survey.

Most of us waste too much water, and that’s a luxury that will have to end if we want North Texas to continue to grow and prosper.

We could all use a few conservation lessons, and the sooner, the better.