Texans Use About One-Third Of Their Water Outdoors

Study shows that 31% of annual single-family residential water use in Texas is dedicated to outdoor purposes like garden and lawns.

Published on: Jan 2, 2013

Texas is a huge state and obviously consumes a lot of water. But where is the water used? There's new information on where water is used by people in Texas.

A just-released Texas Water Development Board study concludes that 31% of annual single-family residential water use in Texas is dedicated to outdoor purposes, such as garden and lawn maintenance, pools—and car washing—with the rest used indoors.

Based on an analysis of monthly water use data for 259 cities, the TWDB found that average outdoor water use ranged from 20 to 53% of total water use, with dryer areas of the state tending to use more than wetter areas.

According to Sam Marie Hermitte, a student at the LBJ School and lead author on the report, "No one has made these calculations for Texas before."

USE WATER. A first-of-its-kind study shows 31% of annual single-family residential water use in Texas is dedicated to outdoor purposes—like gardens and lawn maintenance.
USE WATER. A first-of-its-kind study shows 31% of annual single-family residential water use in Texas is dedicated to outdoor purposes—like gardens and lawn maintenance.

Conventional wisdom based on national studies holds that 50% or more of residential water is used outdoors. As Robert Mace, head of the Water Sciences & Conservation group at the TWDB and co-author of the study notes: "Texans are doing better than that."

The results of the TWDB water study will be useful to water providers and utilities in identifying where to focus future water conservation efforts in the state of Texas.

"In order to prioritize where to save water, we first have to know where we're using water," Mace explains.

The TWDB is the state agency that is charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the State Water Plan for development of the state's water resources. In addition, the TWDB administers cost-effective financial programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.

The Texas Water Development Board is located at 1700 North Congress Avenue in Austin and can be reached at 512-463-7847.