Saturday, November 16, 2013

Waste Water Averaging Periods Begin Nov 14th,2013 and running through March 14th, 2014 for Austin Water Users

Hi Folks ,

It's time to monitor your water use and limit your outdoor watering. Austin Wastewater is billed at a volume unit charge of $8.62 per 1,000 gallons ( for usage over 2,000 gallons. )

This year Austin Water is again using a " three continuous month average" period. No more throwing out the highest month.

The total period runs from November 14 to March 14, but your actual measure dates will fall somewhere in between these 2 dates.

Check here for to find your averaging period start and end dates.

I would recommend reducing your irrigation clock to a water budget of 10% during you waste water period. You can turn it OFF if you are feeling that brave about mother nature providing rainfall over those 3 months, but it is still a good idea to at least run a 2 minute per zone test once a month to keep all the seals lubricated and clean and remove stagnant water from the piping.

Enjoy the great weather and the outdoors this weekend and this time of year.


Cougar Matt Stamm, CLIA
Note: For all other water purveyors, please check your water bill or contact them directly to find out your exact measurement dates., below are few of the other purveyors that our customers use.

Brushy Creek Mud ( ) 
The District uses a sewer average based on four (4) months water consumption from November through February of the previous year to calculate your monthly bill.

WCID #17 ( ) 
Residential wastewater rates are based on the average of the water usage for Dec, Jan & Feb.

Round Rock
The maximum monthly charge for waste water service is based upon actual water consumption, or on the average monthly water consumption during the previous December, January, and February billing periods, whichever is lower. (Depending on your route, consumption used to calculate your wastewater average may come from usage in November, December, January, and February. Watch your bills to determine the approximate date on which your meter is read each month. Your wastewater average calculation will start on the day your meter is read in November and will end on the day your meter is read in February.) 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Effective Rain - Rain that soaked into the soil October 2013

Effective Rain - Austin received over 13" of  rain in Oct. 2013. This is more than all the rain we received in the first 9 months of 2011, but how much of this 13" is effective rain?  Rain that soaked into the soil and is available for grass, shrub, and tree use?

The problem is that rain falls so fast here in Central Texas, sometimes up to 5" per hour. The soil can only absorb 1/4" per hour, so the remaining 4.75 inches will "sheet" and runoff as evidenced by all the flash flooding we are seeing this time of year.

In october, we received a lot of rain, but we achieved "soil saturation" mid way through the month. Once we reached saturation, it was like trying to put 10 gallons of gas into your car when the gas tank is full.
Below is a chart showing the soil saturation levels in Austin Texas for the mid weeks of October 2013.

As you can see , on Oct. 12th, we reached soil saturation levels, after that point all the rain we received was runoff and not available for plant use.  The total "effective rainfall" for October , I calculated at around  1-2 " for clay soils which is typical in central Austin.  This is a far cry from the 13 inches we received.  The other reason only so little rainfall was effective, is because of the low evaporation rate this time of year. Had these deluges occurred mid summer, we could have absorbed about 7.3" of rain as the soil would have dried out in between these rain events.

So the real question becomes,  how can a homeowner program a simple time based controller properly and know how much and when to water? It is pretty much impossible, only a smart controller or controller with a soil moisture sensor would be able to apply the correct amount to water at the right time and the right amount. For most time based controllers, it would be best to just shut the controller off and conserve water during these heavy rain periods.

Matthew L . Stamm
Certified Landscape Irrigation Auditor
President, Cougar Irrigation, LLC

(Above calulations were made using  , clay soils, warm season grass, 5" root depth)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

10,000 gallons cistern/ rainwater harvester for irrigation.

We recently had to replace a irrigation pump that had gone back and we found some leaves inside the pump so we decided to open up the manhole and clean out the gunk on the bottom of the tank that was installed in 2000. If you ever wanted the know what it's like to be inside the belly of a whale, step inside this 6 foot tall basement cistern. At roughly 8 feet wide by 25 long by 6 feet high, probably about the same size and just as creepy. Luckily no snakes or dead squirrels, just a few geckos.