Frequently Asked Questions
(1) What are the data sources used to create the Texas Water Conservation Scorecard?
Sources include Water Conservation Plans, Annual Reports, and Water Audit Report data. These are all obtained from the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) staff. Additionally, water rate data is obtained from the Texas Municipal League (TML), utility websites, and through communications with utility staff.
Since not all of these sources are updated on a yearly basis, interim Scorecard updates reflect revised scores according to four of the ten overall metrics based on data from Annual Reports and yearly Water Audit Reports.
Data Sources by Scorecard
- 2015 Original Scorecard
- 2009 Water Conservation Plan, TWDB
- 2014 Water Conservation Plan, TWDB
- Annual Reports, submitted to the TWDB in 2015
- Water Audit Reports /Water Loss Audits, submitted to the TWDB in 2015
- 2015 Residential Water Costs Details, Texas Municipal League
- Publicly-accessible WCP and/or conservation information, collected from utility website in 2016
- Outdoor watering schedule, information collected from utility website or staff in 2016
- 2016 Interim Update
- Annual Reports, submitted to the TWDB in 2016
- Water Audit Reports, submitted to the TWDB in 2016
- 2017 Interim Update
- Annual Reports, submitted to the TWDB in 2017
- Water Audit Reports, submitted to the TWDB in 2017
- 2018 Interim Update
- Annual Reports, submitted to the TWDB in 2018
- Water Audit Reports, submitted to the TWDB in 2018
- 2015 Original Scorecard
(2) How are Scorecards graded? In other words, what is the criteria used and how are they scored?
The 2015 Comprehensive Scorecard uses 10 metrics to assess large and medium utilities (100 points total) versus 6 metrics for small utilities (55 total points). In partial interim Scorecard updates, scores are updated according to 4 of these criteria (indicated by an *).
|Metric||Applied to||Point Allocation|
|Did the utility submit its most recent required Water Conservation Plan (WCP) to the State?||All utilities||Yes||5 points|
|Did the utility submit its most recent Annual Report (on implementation of its Water Conservation Plan) to the State?*||All utilities||Yes||5 points|
|Did the utility submit its most recent annual Water Audit Report to the State?*||All utilities||Yes||5 points|
|What was the utility's most recent reported total percent water loss as stated in its Water Audit Report?*||All utilities||% Water Loss of less than or equal to 6.5%||15 points|
|% Water Loss of greater than 6.5% to 11%||10 points|
|% Water Loss of greater than 11% to 15.4%||5 points|
|% Water Loss greater than 15.4%||0 points|
|Does the utility (or municipality in which it is housed) have a publicly accessible website on which the public may quickly find the utility's Water Conservation Plan (WCP) and/or other conservation information?||Only large and medium utilities||Yes, Water Conservation Plan (WCP)||5 points|
|Yes, Water Conservation Information Only||3 points|
|Did the utility achieve the 5-year goal for water use reduction stated in their Water Conservation Plan (WCP)?||Only large and medium utilities||5-year water use reduction goal exceeded||10 points|
|5-year water use reduction goal achieved||5 points|
|5-year water use reduction goal not met||0 points|
|Has the utility already achieved a relatively low GPCD (gallons per capita per day of water use)? If not, what is the 5-year goal for water use reduction in its most recent Water Conservation Plan?||Only large and medium utilities||Either has achieved a Low GPCD of 125 or less OR has set an average annual reduction of more than 1.25% as its 5-year goal||15 points|
|Either has achieved a Moderate (Mod) GPCD of less than 140 but more than 125 OR has set an average annual reduction of 0.85% to 1.25% as its 5-yr goal||10 points|
|Average annual reduction of 0.1% to less than 0.85%||5 points|
|Average annual reduction of less than 0.1%||0 points|
|How many TWDB-recognized municipal water conservation Best Management Practices (BMPs) did the utility implement according to its most recent Annual Report?*||All utilities||Incorporated 15+ BMPs into plan||10 points|
|Incorporated 12-14 BMPs into plan||8 points|
|Incorporated 9-11 BMPs into plan||6 points|
|Incorporated 6-8 BMPs into plan||4 points|
|Incorporated 1-5 BMPs into plan||2 points|
|Incorporated no BMPs into plan||0 points|
|Has the utility (or the municipality under which it operates) implemented any mandatory outdoor watering schedules on an ongoing basis (not just as part of a drought contingency plan)?||Only large and medium utilities||Outdoor watering is limited to no more than 1x per week||15 points|
|Outdoor watering is limited to no more than 2x per week||10 points|
|Time of day outdoor watering schedule only||5 points|
|No outdoor watering schedule on ongoing basis||0 points|
|Does the utility's water rate structure send a strong "water conservation pricing signal" to the utility's single-family residential customers?||All utilities||Strong - Greater than or equal to 40% increase||15 points|
|Moderate - Greater than or equal to 25% and less than 40% increase||10 points|
|Slight - Greater than 0% and less than 25% increase||5 points|
|No - 0% increase||0 points|
(3) What are Water Conservation Plans, who must submit them, and when are they submitted?
Water Conservation Plans (WCP) and Water Conservation Implementation Reports (WCIR) are required by Texas law for certain entities. These entities are "Surface Water Rights holder w/ 1,000 acre-feet or more for municipal, industrial, and other non-irrigation uses" and "Surface Water Right holder w/ 10,000 acre-feet or more for irrigation uses".
Water Conservation Plans ensure water use efficiency within a water utility's operation. Submitting this plan every 5 years is essential to a utility reducing the consumption of water, reducing the loss or waste of water, and improving or maintaining the efficiency in the use of water. This information is also helpful to the public, planning organizations, and agencies managing our state water resources. The next series of Water Conservation Plans are due May 1, 2019.
(4) What are Water Conservation Annual Reports and who has to submit them?
The Annual Report evaluates a utility's progress of program implementation in regards to the water conservation plan. Submitting this report is essential to a utility reviewing conservation programs annually and evaluating program successes and needs.
The annual Report is a TWDB requirement for entities meeting any of the following requirements:
- entities applying for or receiving financial assistance of greater than $500,000 from the TWDB;
- entities with 3,300 connections or more; or
- entities that have a water right through TCEQ.
(5) What are annual Water Audit Reports, who must submit them, and when are they submitted?
The Water Loss Audit provides utilities with a standardized approach for auditing water loss. Submitting this report is essential to help a utility understand where and how much water is being lost from the distribution system. This information is also helpful to the agency managing and planning our state water resources.
All retail public water systems with more than 3,300 connections or a financial obligation to TWDB are required to complete and submit a Water Loss Audit annually. All other retail public water suppliers are required to submit a Water Loss Audit to the agency every five years. The next five-year deadline to submit an audit is for the 2020 reporting year, due May 1st, 2021.
Please note: a new legislative requirement under HB1573 requires water loss auditor training prior to submittal of a water loss audit to the TWDB. The TWDB provides Water Loss Audit and Leak Detection Workshops for assistance if needed.
(6) What is Total Percent (%) Water Loss?
The percentage of water lost from the distribution system provides the utility with a baseline from which to monitor and improve water loss control. A higher percent water loss potentially means that a utility is losing water that could be used or conserved to delay investment in expensive water infrastructure projects.
(7) Where can I access my Municipality / Utility's Water Conservation Plan and/or other conservation information?
It is not required by law for Water Conservation Plans to be available online. However, many utilities / municipalities have done so, which is a good thing. Communication of the WCP and/or water conservation information on city websites educates the public on current programs and how residents can become more engaged in conservation practices. To find yours it may take just a google search, or if that doesn't work then contact your utility and they can provide it for you.
(8) What are BMPs and why do they matter?
BMPs are voluntary efficiency measures that are intended to save a quantifiable amount of water and can be implemented within a specified timeframe. The greater number of BMPs a utility implements the more extensive reach water conservation measures will have.
(9) What are outdoor watering schedules?
An outdoor watering schedule generally limits the number of days per week and the hours during which utility customers can use water for irrigation purposes. Studies have shown that annually outdoor water use for single-family homes in Texas accounts for approximately 31% of water use. A significant reduction in annual and peak water use could be realized if a city implemented a mandatory year-round outdoor watering schedule.
(10) What is a "water conservation pricing signal" and how is it accounted for in the Scorecard?
A water conservation pricing signal is a rate structure designed and priced in a way that significantly increases a consumer's water bill when he or she uses more water. The pricing signal is determined by calculating the percent increase in the amount a residential customer pays using 5,000 gallons versus 10,000 gallons. See below to understand how the "conservation rate structure" was calculated for the Scorecard:
Calculating the Conservation Pricing Signal
If residential customer "A" uses 5,000 gallons of water a month and pays $17.27 and residential customer "B" uses 10,000 a month and pays $28.62 the percent increase is calculated by:
- Subtracting the amount paid using 5,000 gallons ($17.27) from the amount paid using 10,000 gallons ($28.62) which is an increase of $11.35 in the amount paid.
- The price increase of $11.35 is divided by the amount paid at 10,000 gallon ($28.62) and multiply by 100 to get the percent increase when using 5,000 gallons versus 10,000 gallons. $11.35 ÷ $28.62 = .3965 x 100 = 39.65%
(11) In terms of 5-year goals for water use reduction in Water Conservation Plans, how is Texas Living Waters determining "average annual reduction" in the Scorecard?
The annual percent reduction value is calculated as follows: dividing the change in GPCD (difference between baseline and goal) by the number of years of change (5-yr conservation goal = 5) by the current (baseline) GPCD and multiplying by 100. Example: Let's say a utility has a 5-year water conservation goal of 196 GPCD and a current or baseline water use of 204 GPCD in their 2014 WCP.
Annual percent water use reduction is calculated by:
- Subtracting the current or baseline water use by the 5-yr water use goal (204 GPCD - 196 GPCD = 8 GPCD);
- Then dividing that number which is "8", by the number of years of change, which is "5" because it's a 5-year goal;
- That number (1.6) is then dividing by the current or baseline GPCD, which is 204;
- The product of this calculation ".007843" is then multiplied by 100 to get an annual percent reduction of water use.
- 8 ÷ 5 ÷ 204 = .007843 X 100 = .78%