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January 2009

Water Resources Council Recommends Enhanced Conservation Measures

Residential irrigationThe NCTCOG Executive Board in December endorsed an enhanced model landscape irrigation ordinance developed by a subcommittee of the region’s Water Resources Council (WRC). The model ordinance and associated conservation recommendations will be offered as a template for cities in the region to use in crafting their own ordinances. They reflect the consensus of the WRC and subcommittee members that entities in North Central Texas should strongly consider “beyond-the-minimum” water conservation elements and policies because of the importance of water resources to our region.

The model ordinance developed by the WRC is an enhanced version of one originally drafted by the Texas Municipal League (TML). TML distributed its model ordinance in September 2009, in response to recent legislation and rulemaking requiring many local communities to adopt landscape irrigation ordinances by January 1, 2009.

WRC members felt that while the TML model ordinance would be of benefit to North Texas municipalities, the critical importance of water resource issues in this region called for recommendation of more robust conservation strategies. A subcommittee was therefore formed to address this need, resulting in the development of the enhanced model landscape irrigation ordinance for North Texas. The irrigation management elements and associated water conservation practices suggested for inclusion in this model ordinance also have potential utility for incorporation into the Water Conservation Plan updates that municipalities will be doing in the spring of 2009.

In the 80th Texas Legislative Session, as a result of elements in Senate Bill 3, House Bill 4, and House Bill 1656, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) was charged to undertake rulemaking that would implement changes for irrigation system design, installation, operation, water conservation and definition of duties and responsibilities of licensed irrigators.

HB 1656 specifically mandates that municipalities with populations of 20,000 or more implement a landscape irrigation permitting, inspection and enforcement program. 46 cities in the North Central Texas region will be affected.

Municipalities are required to adopt local ordinances related to landscape irrigation that include minimum standards and specifications for designing, installing and operating irrigation systems, and requires a new type of license, an irrigation inspector. All of these requirements target the efficient use of water and water conservation enhancement statewide.

For more information, contact Sam Brush, Manager of Environmental Programs, at sbrush@nctcog.org or (817) 695-9213.

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