City of Fort Worth
The City of Fort Worth is on the right track to produce good results with a relatively solid water conservation plan and efforts underway to advance key components of it. Targeted tools such as a water loss detection and repair program, a weather station program, a good conservation pricing signal, and ongoing limits on landscape watering have the potential to help Fort Worth reduce its relatively high rate of per capita water use and its very high rate of water loss. The City provides helpful conservation information to the public on its website and collaborates with other water providers on conservation messaging.
The City of Fort Worth in North Central Texas is in the Region C water planning area. According to 2014 census estimates, it boasts a population of 812,238 residents. The City provides water supplies to over 1.1 million people that reside in Tarrant, Denton, Johnson, Parker and Wise counties. The majority of those people are supplied directly through retail service (770,000 residents) and the remaining residents receive their water as a result of 30 wholesalers purchasing water from Fort Worth and then supplying it to their customers. The water is all surface water, coming from four different supply sources—the West Fork of the Trinity (via Lake Bridgeport, Eagle Mountain Lake and Lake Worth), the Clear Fork of the Trinity (via Lake Benbrook), Cedar Creek Reservoir, and Chambers County Reservoir.
According to its 2014 WCP, as of 2013, Fort Worth’s five-year average water-use rate was 171 GPCD. The WCP sets a five-year target of 160 GPCD by 2020, slightly higher than the minimum 1% per year reduction rate for municipal water suppliers suggested by a State task force in 2004. Since Fort Worth was able to beat the five-year goal for per capita water use reduction set in its 2009 WCP, the utility should be able to meet or beat its new five-year target.
On the education front, Fort Worth has teamed with Tarrant Regional Water District to produce regionally consistent messaging on conservation. This initiative helps reduce confusion about conservation requirements and recommendations among area residents served by different water suppliers. In addition, the Fort Worth website is a model for how to provide pertinent water conservation information to customers in a well-organized format. Programs and services are clearly broken into use categories (residents, irrigation, commercial) that make it easy for various water users to find information applicable to them.
Fort Worth has taken aggressive actions to reduce water use for outdoor landscaping. The City has limited outdoor watering year-round to no more than twice a week, in line with a number of other water suppliers in the region. Fort Worth has also developed an interactive weather station program to help the public make informed decisions about outdoor watering. The utility’s customers will receive weekly information (via emails or other means) about how much supplemental water is needed, if any, to maintain a healthy landscape based on the area’s last seven days of weather.
Fort Worth implemented a new water loss reduction program in 2012. The City’s 2014 WCP reports that leaks detected and repaired via this program saved an estimated 350 million gallons of water in fiscal year 2013. The City’s 2014 Water Audit Report, however, continues to show a very high 19.1% water loss rate, so much more work to minimize water loss is needed.