Dallas: At A Glance
Dallas Water Utility’s water conservation scorecard performance has improved since 2016. Not only did the City exceed its 2019 5-year target from its 2014 WCP, it also set stronger 2024 conservation goals. These achievements are due in large part to DWU’s ambitious efforts to expand its conservation program in recent years along with its aggressive no-more-than-twice-per-week outdoor watering schedule. DWU, however, continues to face the challenge of controlling water loss.
Dallas Water Utilities (DWU) provides retail water service to approximately 1.28 million people in Dallas and wholesale service that covers well over one million other North Central Texas residents in water planning region C. DWU reported in its 2019 Utility Profile that during 2017-2018, it delivered 142 billion gallons of treated water. On average about 40% was for single-family residential use, 25% for multi- family residential, about 26% to commercial customers, and less than ten percent to industrial operations.
All of the raw water sources for Dallas are surface water sources, including Lakes Ray Hubbard, Lewisville, Ray Roberts, Grapevine, and Tawakokni (via contract with Sabine River Authority), and the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. In addition, DWU has contracts for water from Lake Fork and from Lake Palestine, although these are not fully connected to Dallas at present (DWU and Tarrant Regional Water District are partnering on an Integrated Pipeline to bring Lake Palestine water to the D-FW area). Dallas also has developed a reuse water supply.
Since the 2014 WCP, DWU has reduced its baseline from 204 total GPCD to 181 as per the 2019 WCP. This 2019 WCP sets a target to reduce that figure to 173 by 2024, and 164 in 2029. While these conservation goals are more ambitious than the targets set in the 2014 WCP, they could stand to be more aggressive, especially given DWU’s comprehensive water conservation efforts. DWU also continues to have high water loss in its system – the water loss rate averaged about 18 percent from 2014-2019, up from 15 percent a year between 2009 and 2013. The 2019 WCP does set a target of reducing that water loss to 10 percent by 2024. DWU has an extensive leak detection and repair program and is committed to achieving that goal for unaccounted water losses in its water system.
There are very positive signs of progress overall in DWU’s water conservation efforts. Dallas has dramatically expanded its conservation program over the last decade with a wide array of best management practices, high efficiency toilet vouchers and rebates, a growing and highly professional conservation staff, use of the innovative “Lawn Whisperer” campaign to educate residents on outdoor landscaping, and the limits on outdoor watering, among other highlights. Also, the utility’s water rate structure sends a strong conservation pricing signal. DWU also adopted a water conservation work plan in 2016 and has since continued to improve upon its diverse menu of programs with an ongoing, dynamic approach to conservation whereby programs are continually measured and evaluated systematically for effectiveness and efficiency. The plan is allowing for tangible opportunities to accelerate reductions in water use and to make significant progress in curbing water loss.