Arlington: At A Glance
The water conservation score for the City of Arlington increased slightly from 70 in the 2016 scorecard to 71 in the 2020 scorecard. Though this is incremental improvement, Arlington does have a lower rate of per capita water use than many of its North Central Texas neighbors – at 139 GPCD. Arlington has also 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 continues to set and achieve reasonable goals for reducing water use. As recommended in the last scorecard, Arlington should consider adopting a permanent no-more-than-twice-a-week outdoor watering schedule similar to what several other cities in the region have done with good results. Furthermore, the City’s water rate structure could also 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 375,337 people. City planners expect the population to increase to 423,439 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 (64.59% and 32.10% respectively, 96% total) and accounted for 72.63% of 2018 retail water use. Arlington’s industrial, commercial, and institutional customers account for just over 3% of accounts but use nearly 28% of the water produced by the utility. A vast majority of the City’s 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 2019 WCP the City reports that its current average for total GPCD was 139. The single-family residential GPCD for that same period was 91, a substantial portion of the total. The 2019 WCP sets a target to reduce total GPCD to 132 by 2024 and to 126 by 2029, 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 2014 WCP goal, so there is a reasonable expectation that the City will be able to meet if not beat the GPCD goals in its 2019 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 1.4, 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 again 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, sprinkler checks, upcoming events, watering advice, troubleshooting tips, irrigation rules, watering tips, and conservation resources. Arlington could also revise its water rate structure to send a stronger conservation pricing signal to customers to encourage cutting outdoor water use.