City of Arlington
The City of Arlington has a lower rate of per capita water use than many of its North Central Texas neighbors. Arlington has shown a dedication to conservation with its adoption of multiple best management practices (BMPs) to achieve greater efficiency in the use of water, and the utility has set reasonable goals for reducing water use and been able to beat those goals. Arlington should consider adopting a permanent “no-more-than-twice-a-week” watering schedule similar to what several other cities in the region have done, with good result. The City’s water rate structure could send a stronger “conservation pricing signal.”
The City of Arlington lies within the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex and the Region C water planning area and has an average rainfall of 39”. Arlington has a service area of 99 square miles and provides retail water service for 369,543 people. City planners expect the population to increase to 428,000 people by 2060. Arlington is a customer of Tarrant Regional Water District and receives surface water from that wholesale supplier.
Single and multi-family residential customers constitute the vast majority of Arlington’s retail water connections (64% and 33% respectively, 97% total) and accounted for 73% of 2013 retail water use. Arlington’s industrial, commercial and institutional customers account for 3% of accounts but use 27% of the water produced by the utility. A vast majority of the cities non-residential customers are commercial or industrial. Arlington’s highest volume retail water users are the GM Assembly Plant, University of Texas at Arlington, and Arlington ISD.
In its 2014 WCP the City reports that its historic five-year (2009-2013) total GPCD was 159. The single-family residential GPCD for that same period was 112, a substantial portion of the total. The 2014 WCP sets a target to reduce total GPCD to 151 by 2019 and to 143 by 2024, which is in keeping with the recommendation of a state task force to reduce municipal per capita water use at a minimum of 1% each year on a five-year rolling average. Arlington beat its 2009 WCP goal, so there is a reasonable expectation that the City will be able to meet if not beat the GPCD goals in its 2014 WCP.
Limiting outdoor water use is one of the most important things a utility with a large single-family residential customer sector can do to stretch current water supplies to meet the needs of a growing population. Arlington’s summer to winter differential (or “peak”) is about 1.8 – 1.9, which probably reflects the spike in outdoor watering during hot weather.
Thus far, Arlington has not placed year-round limits on outdoor watering except for time of day restrictions. Implementing a no-more-than-twice-a-week watering limitation would enhance the City’s ability to beat its conservation goals. Arlington does provide several tools and some information on efficient lawn watering and other conservation practices. Some of the programs include, the Lawn Whisperer, a native plant guide, native plant sales, and free sprinkler system inspections. Arlington could also revise its water rate structure to send a stronger conservation pricing signal to customers to encourage cutting outdoor water use.