Save Abilene Water
How Can You Help Save Water in Abilene?
The City of Abilene works to conserve water via Year-Round Water Use Management. Water conservation stages are triggered by certain conditions, including the combined capacity of Abilene’s major water sources, Lake Fort Phantom Hill and Hubbard Creek Lake.
November 2023 Lake Levels
- Available Capacity: 56.77%
Combined available capacity of Lake Fort Phantom Hill & Hubbard Creek Lake
- Water Conservation: Normal
You may water 3 Days Per Week
For the most up to date information, visit Water Data for Texas
3-Day a Week Watering Schedule
Conditions: Combined capacity of Lake Fort Phantom Hill and Hubbard Creek above 50%
|Odd Number Addresses||Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday||Midnight to 10 am and 6 pm to Midnight|
|Even Number Addresses||Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday||Midnight to 10 am and 6 pm to Midnight|
|Industrial, commercial, government customers, public and private schools, and universities||Monday, Wednesday, and Friday||Midnight to 10 am and 6 pm to Midnight|
City officials still encourage residents to conserve water by watering their lawn once every seven days on one of the designated water days.
Water Conservation History in Abilene
Abilene experienced it's greatest day of water consumption in July 1980, when 49 million gallons of water was used. There were no limits or conservation plans in place for water customers. By 1985, the Texas Legislature recognized that conservation was much more economical then developing new water resources and made it a key factor in granting water permits.
Drought conditions in the late 1980s and again in 1999 to 2000 spurred city leaders to plan for Abilene's future water needs. Their strategy had three primary components:
- The purchase of water from a third reservoir, Lake O.H. Ivie, 86 miles south of Abilene.
- Development of a new reclaimed water use program that provided treated wastewater effluent to large irrigation customers, such as golf courses, parks, and universities, which previously used drinking water to nourish their green spaces.
- The creation of Abilene's water conservation plan - based on best practices and developed in cooperation with master gardeners, landscape professionals, and city staff. Our water conservation plan enables residents to save millions of gallons of water every year.
These measures have helped Abilene save billions of gallons of water. In 2011, we had the single worst climate year in our history with high temperatures and drought. However, the changes worked. In 2011, only 37 million gallons of water were used on our peak day. For the entire year of 2011, the city used 1 billion fewer gallons than we did in 1998 and we even had 14,000 more residents.
Recent & Current Projects
Today, the Big Country continues to face new, ongoing drought conditions. The City of Abilene is once again taking a leadership role to provide additional water supplies to the region. Our strategy includes projects to provide additional water now, over the next few years (as conditions require), and for future generations to come. Recent and current projects include:
- An expansion of our reclaimed water use program constructed a brand new, state-of-the-art Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility to take an average of 7 MGD (Million Gallons per Day) of the existing treated wastewater effluent and provide additional treatment, to include reverse osmosis. It is being released back into Lake Fort Phantom Hill where it will undergo nature's biological treatment process and add to our water supplies.
- The City of Abilene is making arrangements to purchase additional water supplies from Possum Kingdom Reservoir. This project includes the necessary pipeline and treatment facilities to respond to changing drought conditions into the foreseeable future.
- An expansion of the City's water treatment facilities for Lake O.H. Ivie is increasing the total production capacity of the Hargesheimer Water Treatment Plant. This will make the treatment plant more efficient and allow for the treatment of more water from this vital water supply source.
- Finally, the City of Abilene is diligently working to acquire the necessary State and Federal permits to construct a new reservoir on the Brazos River. Cedar Ridge Reservoir is being proposed northwest of Albany and will provide new water supplies to the entire region. Once permitted and constructed, Cedar Ridge will provide new water supplies to the region for generations to come.
Thanks to the support of Abilene residents and businesses, we are proud of how our city continues to adapt to drought conditions, a growing population, and increasing demands on our water supply.
Normal Use (Year-Round)
3 times per week lawn irrigation
Conditions: Combined capacity of Lake Fort Phantom Hill and Hubbard Creek above 50%
2 times per week lawn irrigation
Conditions: Lake Fort Phantom Hill and Hubbard Creek combined capacity between 40-50%
Stage 1 – Water Alert
1 time per week lawn irrigation
Conditions: Combined plant pumpage of more than 45 Million Gallons/Day for two consecutive days; or continually falling water storage facility levels that do not refill above 50% overnight; or combined Lake Fort Phantom Hill/Hubbard Creek storage between 30-40%. Other unforeseen events.
Stage 2 - Water Warning
1 time per TWO weeks lawn irrigation
Conditions: Combined treatment plant pumpage in excess of 40 Million Gallons/Day for 2 days while in Stage 1 trigger parameters; continually falling water storage facility levels which do not refill above 40% percent overnight; or, combined storage in Hubbard Creek Reservoir and Lake Fort Phantom Hill between 20-30%; major line breaks or pump system failure which causes unprecedented loss of service. Other unforeseen conditions.
Stage 3 - Water Emergency
NO outdoor lawn irrigation
Conditions: Combined treatment plant pumpage in excess of 36 Million Gallons/Day for 3 days while in Stage 2 trigger parameters; depletion of combined storage in Hubbard Creek Reservoir and Lake Fort Phantom Hill to less than 20%; major line breaks or pump system failure which causes unprecedented loss of capability to provide service. Other unforeseen conditions.
Stage 4 - Water Crisis
NO outdoor lawn irrigation
Conditions: Loss of capability to provide water service or contamination of supply source, or any unforeseen/unexpected conditions that cause the City Manager to inform the Mayor of implementation.
By making small adjustments in your daily routine, you alone can make a significant difference in saving water in Abilene as saving money in your pocket.
In the Bathroom
Bathrooms are by far where we use the largest amount water in the home. Typically, 70% of a family's water use is in the bathroom.
- Take shorter showers. Showers use 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Any over 10 minutes is considered wasteful. Cutting back your shower time by even one or two minutes can save up to 700 gallons a month.
- Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth (or shaving). By turning the water of after getting your toothbrush (or razor) wet, you can save about 3 gallons of water each time averaging 8 to 10 gallons a day.
- Don't use the toilet as a trash can. Instead, use a garbage can and save 3.5 gallons of water per unnecessary flush.
- Plug stop before turning on the faucet when running a bath. A bath uses on average 36 gallons of water. By adjusting the water while the tub fills, instead of waiting till it is the right temperature to plug, will save several gallons of water.
In the Kitchen
- Wait until the dishwasher is full to run. Whether it is full or has four dishes, the run cycles use the same 15 gallons of water to clean.
- Opt for using the dishwasher versus hand washing. Running water while washing dishes for five minutes on average wastes 10 gallons of water. If you prefer washing by hand, try washing all the dishes first while the tap is off, then rinse all at the same time.
- Pick the appropriate water level setting. Most washers offer small, medium, and large options.
- Wash full loads. Waiting till the washer is full is even better than above when it come to being efficient with your water usage.
- Measure laundry detergent. Using too much can cause high-efficiency washers to use more water during the rinse cycle.
- Pick the right soil setting for the load. Choosing the heavy-duty setting when it is not needed can use more water and extend wash time. The normal setting works for most loads.
Outdoor water use accounts for more than 30% of total household water use, on average.
- Water each sprinkler station for 15 minutes. A healthy and lush lawn only needs 1" of water a week. Anything more then 15 minutes of watering in an area is most likely wasteful. On average, people waste 50% of the water they use on their lawns due to overwatering.
- Cover your swimming pool. Due to evaporation, covering your pool can save hundreds of gallons of water each month.
- Properly manage your home's water irrigation system. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of water used by 15%, averaging nearly 7,600 gallons of water annually.
These tips and more at Water: Use it Wisely
The water we use every day originates from three local lakes. From there, it travels through underground raw water transmission lines to Abilene's water treatment facilities, where it is purified to drinking water standards before being delivered to our homes and businesses.
Fort Phantom Hill Reservoir
Lake Fort Phantom Hill is between Farm roads 600 and 2833 five miles south of Nugent in the extreme southeast corner of Jones County (at 32°37' N, 99°40' W). The lake, impounded by a dam on Elm Creek, a tributary of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, covers a surface area of 4,246 acres and provides a storage capacity of 74,310 acre-feet.
The city of Abilene owns and operates the lake for municipal and recreational purposes. Construction began in June 1937 and was finished in October 1938. Since that time Abilene has developed parks on the lake and has diverted water from the Clear Fork and Deadman Creek to the lake in order to meet the needs of the area's growing population.
Connie Ricci, "FORT PHANTOM HILL RESERVOIR," Handbook of Texas Online (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rof07), accessed July 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Hubbard Creek Reservoir
Hubbard Creek Lake is on Hubbard Creek in the Brazos River basin about six miles northwest of Breckenridge in northwestern Stephens County. Construction began in May 1961 and the dam was completed in December 1962. In the 1990s, the reservoir had a conservation storage capacity of 317,800 acre-feet and a conservation surface area of 15,250 acres at an elevation of 1,183 feet above mean sea level, with a lake shoreline of 100 miles. The lake is owned by the West Central Texas Municipal Water Authority and serves as a source of water for industry, mining, and nearby municipalities, including Abilene, Albany, Anson, and Breckenridge.
Seth D. Breeding, "HUBBARD CREEK RESERVOIR," Handbook of Texas Online (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/roh07), accessed July 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
O. H. Ivie Reservoir
The O. H. Ivie Reservoir, once called Stacy Reservoir, impounded by the S W Freese Dam at the Concho-Coleman county line, is located in Concho, Coleman, and Runnels counties. The United States Army Corps of Engineers first expressed a desire for a reservoir site near the confluence of the Concho and Colorado rivers in 1938. However, it wasn't started until 1985 and completed in 1990. The reservoir was named to honor the water district's general manager, O. H. Ivie. The lake waters are used for domestic and municipal water supply for a number of West Texas cities and towns. The conservation surface area of the lake is 20,000 surface acres. The reservoir and its two-mile rolled earthfill dam are owned and operated by the Colorado River Municipal Water District. The lake drains an area of 3,300 square miles and has a pool elevation of 1,551 feet.
"O. H. IVIE RESERVOIR," Handbook of Texas Online (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/roogh), accessed July 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.