Irrigation Usage and Water Conservation
With booming populations, prolonged droughts, and increased demand on a limited supply of water, it is more important than ever for each of us to use water wisely and efficiently to make sure our supplies last.
Outdoor Watering Guidelines
As a reminder, the City of Melissa is under water conservation guidelines year-round. There are specific restrictions that limit outdoor watering, and the restrictions vary seasonally. From April 1 through October 31, standard restrictions are in place and outdoor watering is limited to no more than twice per week as needed. Beginning November 1 through March 31, seasonal restrictions limit outdoor watering to no more than once per week, only as needed.
Additionally, please continue the following measures throughout the year:
- No outdoor watering with an irrigation system between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
- No use of water that allows runoff or other water waste
- No landscape watering during any form of precipitation
View the City of Melissa Water Conservation and Water Resource and Emergency Management Plans (Adopted April 2019) (PDF).
How Much Does Landscape Watering Impact Your Bill?
During summertime, temperatures soar, and many homeowners expect to see their water use increase due to a greater need for outdoor watering. In reality, most homeowners overwater their yard, unintentionally wasting money every time they take out the hose or turn on the sprinklers. While an average family uses 60 to 80 gallons of household water per person per day, landscape watering typically accounts for the majority of household water use during the summer months.
Higher water use increases water bills and increases the demand on our water supply. For some customers, following the conservation watering restrictions of no more than twice per week can still result in an increase of more than 10,000 to 15,000 gallons on their monthly water bill for irrigation alone. An automatic sprinkler system provides convenience, but people have a responsibility to operate their systems efficiently and effectively.
How Much Water Does Your Yard Need?
A healthy landscape requires much less water than you may think. The "Water My Yard" program, developed by NTMWD's WaterIQ program in partnership with the Irrigation Technology Program of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, has been established as a tool to assist you in determining an adequate amount of supplemental water that is needed to maintain healthy grass.
The City of Melissa has a local weather station (near Villages of Melissa) that is part of this network and offers our residents the most local and relevant data to help determine when and how much you need to water. Learn more by visiting the Water My Yard website. It only takes a few short steps to begin receiving a weekly email to know how much water your landscape actually requires based on local weather conditions, such as effective rainfall, solar radiation, relative humidity, and wind.
How Much Water Do You Use?
On average, an irrigation system can use up to 13 gallons of water per minute/per zone. This rate can vary based on sprinkler head type and size, zone size, water pressure, friction loss, etc.
Click on the Excel Calculator link below and enter the number of zones in your system, the time in minutes you run the system, and how many times a month. The result is your estimated monthly usage.
For example, the sample below reflects two zones, running for four minutes, 14 times a month. The resulting usage is 1,456 gallons of water a month on irrigation.
Number of Zones
Number of Minutes per Zone
Number of Times per Month
Total Gallons of Usage per Month
The following will provide the most accurate usage data:
- Utilize the customer portal to monitor overnight irrigation usage at www.municipalonlinepayments.com/melissatx/utilities. Not only will this help to ensure that irrigation is running as programmed but it will provide you with the most accurate amount of water your specific system uses.
- Set up consumption threshold alerts and/or billing threshold alerts within the portal to assist with usage monitoring.
Managing Water Usage
Irrigation system management can not only cause confusion and frustration but can lead to a significantly higher water bill. Homeowners should never use the set it and forget it approach. Instead, watering schedules should be changed as plants become established, with changing seasons, and with changing weather conditions.
The following are some useful tips to help reduce costs:
- Run irrigation in the early morning hours to reduce the evaporation rate
- If water runs off your yard, split irrigation times into two or more sessions
- Enable rain sensors and/or soil moisture sensors if applicable
- Periodically check for broken sprinkler heads or drip lines
- Refrain from running irrigation during high wind conditions
Water Conservation Resources
The following links provide additional information and are great resources on how you and your family can do your part to conserve water and at the same time save on your water bill:
- Home Water Works - A Project of the Alliance for Water Efficiency
- Know Your Water - North Texas WaterIQ
- Water Use It Wisely Website
- Watering Tips | US EPA
Interested in tracking the water level of Lake Lavon? Visit the Water Data for Texas website for daily updates on the elevation and conservation pool level.
View the Utility Billing FAQ for more information on how water usage is calculated. If after going through this information, you still feel there is no reasonable explanation for your increased usage, feel free to email Utility Billing during normal business hours or call 972-838-2035 for further assistance.