Water Conservation Tips & Tricks

Whether you're on campus or at home, learn how you can conserve water wherever you go

Water is an incredibly precious resource and here in San Marcos and throughout Central Texas, we have some of the purest water bodies due to the makeup of the Edwards Aquifer and the groundwater that flows through it. In order to keep our river flowing and to protect the endangered species that call our river home, critical water consumption restrictions are being implemented.

Due to dropping aquifer levels and Jackson Well water levels, the Texas State University San Marcos Campus has entered Stage 3 drought restrictions. 

Explore this page on how you can conserve water and help prepare for a more sustainable future.  

Stage 3 Drought warning message

Help Stop the Waste of Water

See a leak on campus? Report it

Water Data Groundwater Availability

Groundwater availability in Texas is projected to decrease from 13.3 million acre-ft per year to 10.1 million acre-ft per year in the next 40 years.

Usage Increased Demand

In the next 40 years, water consumption will double throughout Texas from 4.9 million to 8.4 million acre-ft consumed per year.

Population Texas will double by 2060 - 25 million more people

If consumption patterns do not change, the state may experience devastating economic and ecological impacts.

1. In the Kitchen

  • When washing dishes by hand, fill one sink with wash water to avoid running the tap. 

  • Only run the dishwasher with a full load.

  • Don't use running water to thaw food. Defrost food in the refrigerator for water efficiency and food safety. 

  • For cold drinks keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • Designate one glass for your drinking water each day or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
Person standing in front of a counter preparing in the kitchen
Bathroom photo within the residential halls on campus

2. In the Bathroom

  • Shorten your shower time. A 10 minute shower uses approximately 25 gallons of water. 
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
  • Upgrade your restrooms fixtures with low flow features. 
  • Consider every flush. Older toilets use up to 7 gallons of water per flush. 
  • Turn off the tap when shaving. Fill a sink with water before a shave. 
  • While you wait for your shower to warm up, stick a bucket under the faucet to collect water, to water your indoor plants. 

3. In the Laundry

  • The average residential washing machine uses approximately 41 gallons of water per load
  • Only wash clothes when there is a full load to do. 
  • Wash clothes in cold water to save water and energy. 
  • ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers use about 25% less energy and 40% less water than regular clothes washers.
Laundry facility in residential hall on campus
Student watering plants in the university greenhouse

4. In the Yard

  • Water only when needed. Feel the soil and use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water. 
  • Water lawns and plants early in the morning to avoid water loss during evaporation. Check local restrictions for watering practices. 
  • Consider changing your outdoor space to a xeriscape to reduce water consumption and encourage native plant use. 
  • When it does rain, stick a bucket outside and use the collected water to water your indoor plants. 
  • Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough, but infrequent watering. 
  • Top your garden beds with mulch or compost to maximize water retention. 
  • Use a moisture meter to determine when house plants need water. More plants die from over-watering than from being on the dry side.

5. Plumbing and Appliances

  • Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Some use less water than others.
  • Check all waterline connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water EACH DAY, or 5,000 gallons per month, and will add to the water bill.
  • Learn to repair faucets so that drips can be corrected promptly. It is easy to do, costs very little, and can mean a substantial savings in plumbing and water bills.
  • Be sure the water heater thermostat is not set too high. Extremely hot settings waste water and energy because the water often has to be cooled with cold water before it can be used.
  • Winterize outdoor spigots and faucets when cold temperatures arrive to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
Kitchen space within residential hall on campus
Swimming in Sewell

6. Take a Dip

If you can, take a dip in a natural swimming hole to help cool your body temperature down. The San Marcos River is 72 degrees year-round!  

Edwards Aquifer Data

The Edwards Aquifer Authority is a groundwater district, mandated by the 1993 Edwards Aquifer Authority Act. The EAA regulates the portion of the Balcones Fault Zone Edwards Aquifer – a jurisdictional area that provides water to over 2.5 million people, and covers more than 8,000 square miles across eight counties.

Stages of Drought Response

Monitoring drought throughout a region requires the observation of indicators that measure changes in the hydrological cycle. Indicators include, precipitation, temperature, streamflow, ground and reservoir water levels, and soil moisture.

The below stages of drought response are strictly for City of San Marcos residents.

drought level definitions and requirements

Water Quality & Flooding

Ever wonder what happens to the San Marcos River during a flood event? Hear from water experts from the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment as they discuss the importance of water quality and water quantity. 

Video edited by Sustainability - Public Relations Intern Daniela Dominguez

Drone image of San Marcos River

Hotter Than A Habanero

Blog dedicated to improving our understanding of climate change in Texas, what it means for water, and what we can do to improve our resiliency.
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Texas + Water

Texas+Water is a monthly newsletter published by The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment addressing water news, research, and policy.
big splash of water

Drought Survival Kit

The State of Water by Texas Parks & Wildlife dives into drought restrictions and how Texans can combat drought.
meadows center drone picture
"No natural resource has greater significance for the future of Texas than water."

- Andrew Sansom | The Meadows Center Founder