Water conservation in Central Texas: Sustainable water savings and future applications




Miller, Meredith

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The population in Central Texas is expected to increase over 100% between 2010 and 2060 significantly increasing municipal water demands, which may be further complicated by climate change and drought (Texas Water Development Board 2007). In order to address potential shortages, municipal water conservation is expected to contribute 145,277 acre-feet of water supplies per year in Central Texas (TWDB 2006). The economic and per unit water savings of specific conservation measures are not well documented and few studies have been published that include empirical findings concerning the effectiveness of conservation programs on water demand reductions (WCASA 2006). The majority of studies that do contain information on conservation savings do not provide methodologies, models or standardized values transferable to Central Texas municipalities. Currently, there is no published record of existing conservation measures in Central Texas; even less is known about the water savings resulting from the use of such measures. Accurately assessing the progress toward the significant water reductions mandated by the 2007 State Water Plan makes it imperative that we know: (i) what measures are in place; (ii) how much water they are saving; and (iii) the costs of such measures, as well as the potential water savings from implementing additional water conservation best management practices recommended in the State Water Plan. Water conservation measures in place for more than 30 municipal water providers were examined for Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties, which comprise portions of Texas Regional Planning Groups G, K and L. Collected data and information for many water providers in the study area were cataloged and categorized into a database. Several municipal water demand reduction best management practices were examined for potential savings applications for Central Texas water providers, including plumbing fixture, rain barrel, and rain catchment system rebates and watering restrictions. Estimations of conservation savings necessary to meet projected water savings over the fifty year planning horizon were calculated equally over each decade and model outputs show that plumbing retrofit, rebate and replacement programs were among the most efficient measures for reducing water use. Outdoor watering restrictions were also found to be very effective conserving water. Based on study results, collected case studies and relevant information, recommendations for best management practices and related regulations were provided.



water conservation, sustainability, Central Texas, water consumption, water resources development, droughts


Miller, M. B. (2011). Water conservation in Central Texas: Sustainable water savings and future applications (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI