Irrigation Insights: Smart Watering for Fort Worth

Managing outdoor water usage can be tricky, but we're here to help! Our mission is to keep you informed about watering schedules and best practices to ensure a steady water supply across Fort Worth year-round. With expert guidance on outdoor water use ,you can achieve the best yard on the block without breaking the bank. The year-round outdoor watering ordinance ensures Fort Worth’s water is always flowing smoothly!

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Did you receive a Water Conservation Notice in the mail?

In July of 2024, the Utility's conservation section began mailing customers “Yellow Conservation Notice Postcards” (pictured below) who are suspected of having violated Fort Worth's watering requirements (Ordinance 21194-07-2014) using MyH2O data.  

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Who receives a yellow water conservation notice in the mail?

You might receive a postcard if you are:

  • Watering on a Monday: Applies to all residential and commercial properties.
  • Watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.: Applies to all residential and commercial properties.
  • Not following the designated watering days:
  • Commercial properties: May only water on Tuesday and Friday.
  • Residential properties:
    • Addresses ending in an even number: May only water on Wednesday and Saturday.
    • Addresses ending in an odd number: May only water on Thursday and Saturday.
  • Watering too frequently: Applies to all residential and commercial properties; this means watering three or more times per week.

 

What to do?

If you have received a yellow conservation notice postcard, here are the steps you should take:

  1. Log Into MyH2O:

    • Check your usage data to see when and how often your water consumption exceeded the threshold. This will help you understand what might have triggered the notice.

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  2. Adjust Your Irrigation System:

    • Ensure your irrigation controller is set correctly according to the designated watering days.
    • Avoid using automated irrigation between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., as this is prohibited.

  3. Set High Use Notifications:

    • Consider setting a high use notification in MyH2O to alert you if your water consumption is unusually high. This can help you stay on track and avoid future violations.

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  4. Check for Common Issues:

    • Midnight watering: If your irrigation system is set to water at or near midnight, it might be flowing into the following day. Adjust the time on your irrigation controller to avoid this issue.
    • Hand watering: Make sure that any hand watering is done with a hand-held sprinkler head device. Rotary or oscillating sprinkler sprayers attached to hoses are not considered as hand watering.

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    • Pool fillers: Set your pool filling schedule to align with your designated watering days.
    • Multiple fixtures: Avoid using multiple water fixtures simultaneously, as this can push your usage over the limit.

    • Irrigation reset: After power outages, irrigation controllers may reset to factory settings, potentially leading to non-compliance with the city ordinance. Property owners are responsible for their irrigation systems and can face violations, even if they did not set the schedule. This is particularly important for new residents, homeowners, and those using property maintenance staff.

  5. Understand the Consequences:

    • Continued violation of watering requirements is enforceable under city ordinance (Ordinance 21194-07-2014). Persistent non-compliance may result in fines and other penalties.

We understand that managing water usage can be confusing, but we’re here to help. Our goal is to guide you toward better water practices that benefit both your household and our community. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Fort Worth Water Conservation at:

Let’s work together to ensure efficient water usage in Fort Worth!

Watering Exceptions

Special Water Variances or Exceptions

  • Establishing New Grass or Plants: Customers can request a variance to water for more than 30 consecutive days to establish newly-planted hydromulch, grass sod, or grass seed. To do so, please complete and submit the Irrigation Schedule Variance Form below.

  • Using Alternative Water Sources: If you use supplemental or alternative water sources such as a well, Trinity River water, or reclaimed water, these sources must be registered with the City. Provide sufficient proof to the water director, and be prepared for inspections if necessary. Ensure compliance with the City’s Backflow and Cross-Connection Control Program and City Code Sections 12.5-525 through 12.5-599. Register your alternative water source(PDF, 196KB).

  • Dust Control for Sports Fields Conduct dust control measures for sports fields as needed.

  • Irrigation System Maintenance Conduct maintenance, repair, or testing of your irrigation system as required.

Click here to view form.

Water Pressure and Irrigation in Fort Worth

Due to the rapid growth and ongoing water improvement projects across Fort Worth, the increased summer demand for water calls for greater conservation efforts. Efficient irrigation practices are crucial to managing water pressure and maintaining reliable water service for all residents and businesses in Fort Worth.

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What you need to do: 

  • Follow designated watering days.
  • Avoid watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Use efficient irrigation practices to reduce strain on our infrastructure.

By adopting these practices, you join your neighbors in being good stewards of our water resources and ensuring a steady supply for everyone.

Watering Schedules and Restrictions

Twice-a-Week SmartWatering: Grass-Roots Campaign

Irrigation experts across Texas agree that for warm weather and established lawns, a twice-a-week cycle with a soak that saturates the soil down to 6 inches creates deep, healthy roots capable of withstanding scorching summer temperatures.

Responsible water use is everyone’s responsibility. Please contribute to water conservation efforts. As part of its water conservation and drought/water emergency management plans, Fort Worth maintains year-round outdoor water use restrictions to promote efficiency. These requirements include:

  • No watering by irrigation systems or sprinklers between 10 a.m.-6 p.m. 
  • Watering by hand-held hose, drip irrigation, or soaker hose is allowed at any time. 
  • A twice-a-week irrigation system or sprinkler schedule with assigned days for ALL water customers.   
  • No watering of hard surfaces. 
  • No watering during precipitation. 
  • No water waste due to runoff or from missing, misaligned, or broken sprinkler heads.

Know Your Watering Schedule 

Monday
No watering allowed

Tuesday & Friday
Non-residential sites (apartments, businesses, parks, common areas)

Wednesday & Saturday (even)
Residential addresses ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, 8

Thursday & Sunday (odd)
Residential addresses ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9

Weekly Watering Advice

While two days are allowed, remember that watering is unnecessary if your landscape doesn’t need it. To determined the exact amount of water your yard needs each week, sign up to receive Weekly Watering Advice via text or email.

The Weekly Watering Advice is a program by the Tarrant Regional Water District, supported by Fort Worth Water.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recommends varying lawn watering frequencies for each season. It's recommended to apply one inch of water consistently throughout the year, adjusting frequency based on the season. Following this schedule will help you efficiently manage water usage year-round.

  • Winter: Every 15 to 20 days (if any water is needed at all, turn off the system and water manually) 
  • Spring: Every 10 to 15 days 
  • Summer: Every 5 to 7 days 
  • Fall: Every 10 to 15 days

Rain and Freeze Sensors

  • Rain and freeze sensors are required for all systems installed on or after June 1, 2007. New irrigation system installations, as well as retrofits to include these sensors, require a city permit obtained by a licensed irrigator or master plumber. The installation can be performed by the licensed professionals or someone working under their direct supervision. 
  • Commercial irrigation systems are also required to have rain and freeze sensors. An annual inspection of these sensors is mandatory and can be conducted concurrently with the annual backflow inspection.

Efficient Irrigation Practices

Efficient irrigation is crucial for conserving water and maintaining a healthy landscape. By watering at optimal times and adjusting based on weather conditions, you can significantly reduce water waste. Use our irrigation calculator to determine how much water your yard needs and log in to the MyH2O portal to monitor your usage and make necessary adjustments.

  • Best times to water: It's best to water early in the morning or late in the evening to maximize efficiency and minimize water loss due to evaporation.
  • Recommended watering durations: Use the "cycle and soak" method, watering deeply and infrequently to promote deeper root growth and reduce water runoff.
  • Weather-based adjustments: Adjust your watering schedule based on weather conditions. For example, reduce or skip watering during rainy periods and in winter when plants require less water. 
  • Enhance your yard: Explore tips and strategies to improve your yard’s health and resilience with efficient watering practices. Visit our Gardening Tips page for more information.

 

Smart Irrigation Technology

Harness the power of technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your irrigation practices. Smart irrigation systems can help you save water and maintain a healthy landscape. All water customers must ensure that watering is performed only on the designated watering days for their address, even when utilizing smart irrigation technology.

  • Smart irrigation system evaluation: Fort Worth residents can receive a free evaluation of their irrigation systems. Smart controllers and weather-based sensors can significantly improve water efficiency by adjusting watering schedules based on real-time weather data.
  • Using smart controllers: Program and set up smart controllers to adjust watering schedules based on weather forecasts and soil moisture levels.
  • Integrating weather data: Use weather data to make informed decisions about when and how much to water your landscape needs. This lead to significant water savings.

     

Weekly Watering Advice

While two watering days are allowed, remember that watering is not necessary if your landscape doesn’t need it. Sign up to receive Weekly Watering Advice via text or email to determine the exact water needs of your yard.

The Weekly Watering Advice is a program by the Tarrant Regional Water District, supported by Fort Worth Water.

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service recommends varying lawn watering frequencies for each season. It's recommended to apply one inch of water consistently throughout the year, adjusting frequency based on the season. Following this schedule will help you efficiently manage water usage year-round.

  • Winter: Every 15 to 20 days (consider turning off the system and watering manually if necessary) 
  • Spring: Every 10 to 15 days 
  • Summer: Every 5 to 7 days 
  • Fall: Every 10 to 15 days

Maintenance and Troubleshooting (Videos)

Regular maintenance and troubleshooting are essential to ensure your irrigation system runs efficiently and prevents water waste.

  • Regular inspections and repairs: Regularly inspect your system for leaks and ensure that sprinkler heads are properly aligned and functioning. This helps prevent water waste and maintains efficient operation.
  • Common issues and solutions: Address common problems such as clogged nozzles, misaligned sprinklers, and broken pipes promptly to maintain system efficiency.
  • Seasonal maintenance checklist: Conduct seasonal maintenance to prepare your system for weather and usage pattern changes.

 

Resources and Assistance

Understand the Consequences of Water Waste

If you continue to violate the watering requirements, these violations are enforceable under city ordinance (Ordinance 21194-07-2014). Persistent non-compliance may result in fines and other penalties.

We understand that managing water usage can be confusing, but we are here to help. Our goal is to guide you toward better water practices that benefit both your household and our community. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact Fort Worth Water Conservation at:

Let’s work together to ensure efficient water usage in Fort Worth!