A tool used by homeowners across the state to care for their lawns is now available to residents of Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend and Brazoria counties.
The WaterMyYard tool is now sponsored in these four counties in partnership with the Harris Galveston Subsidence District and Galveston Bay Foundation, with funding from the federal Environmental Protection Agency, per a Galveston Bay Foundation news release from late July. Galveston Bay Foundation is a Kemah-based conservation nonprofit focused on reducing threats to the bay and supporting a healthy environment.
WaterMyYard was developed by Texas A&M Agrilife Extension specialists to promote water conservation and provide lawn irrigation recommendations, per the release. Using local weather data, the tool determines the precise amount of supplemental water that is needed to maintain a healthy lawn.
Area lawns need irrigation to keep them healthy in the summer, per the release, but overwatering contributes to water quality issues and water waste. The tool provides free recommendations on how long residents should operate their irrigation systems, which can be received via email, text message or app notifications. Recommendations are based on the type of irrigation system used, as well as a network of weather stations and rain gauges across Texas, per the release.
Six evapotranspiration weather stations across the Houston-Galveston area collect data to calculate plant watering requirements, and over 100 Harris County Flood Control District rain gauges provide recent rainfall data for every ZIP code, per the release.
Many lawn problems are caused or compounded by overwatering or applying water at the wrong time, so the app aims to inform; this helps residents learn to water the perfect amount, maximizing water conservation and keeping their water bills low, per the release. Overall, lawn watering accounts for approximately 40% of residential water usage.
Part of the benefit to water conservation is that it helps prevent subsidence, which is the sinking of land surface caused by groundwater withdrawal, per the release. Conservation also helps reduce harmful runoff that can affect water quality throughout the Galveston Bay watershed. Galveston Bay Foundation implements programs in land preservation, habitat restoration, water quality and quantity, STEM education, and advocacy to protect the watershed.
The Harris-Galveston Subsidence District exists to prevent subsidence in Harris and Galveston counties; it protects the region from the ongoing effects of subsidence by providing reasonable groundwater regulation based on the best available science, per the release. Some of the major efforts of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service include mitigating drought effects; conserving water use in homes, landscapes and production agriculture; improving emergency management; enhancing food security; and protecting human health through education about diet, exercise and disease prevention and management.
Users can sign up online for WaterMyYard’s customized watering tips, or download the app from the App Store or Google Play. The program, which has provided irrigation recommendations for homeowners in North Texas since 2012, has expanded to other areas of the state including greater Austin and Houston, Lubbock, and San Angelo.