As the drought continues to persist throughout most of Texas, our local water supplies will inevitably decrease as we enter the heat of summer and peak consumption. Therefore, it is important that we voluntarily conserve as much water as possible so that we can delay any mandatory restrictions that may be imposed.

To help facilitate water conservation, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is strengthening its challenge to Texans to save millions of gallons of water annually as well as money on their monthly water bills. The 40 Gallon Challenge is a program that calls on residents and businesses to reduce their average water use by 40 gallons per day.

The 40-Gallon Challenge allows Texans to compete against other Americans who are taking the challenge in their states. At the program’s website, www.40gallonchallenge.org, Texans can pledge to adopt water-saving practices and see how many gallons of water they can expect to save. The website also shows the most popular practices being pledged, the practices that are saving the most water daily, and counties and states that are pledging the most daily savings.

An initial economic impact study conducted after one year of the 40 Gallon Challenge Program showed that Texas participants, based on average municipal rates, were saving an estimated $299,000 a year, in addition to saving 71 million gallons of water annually. This was from only 1,050 participating households. Today’s numbers are 3,073 participating households saving 204 million gallons annually!

Currently, the top pledged water saver practices in Texas are “reduce irrigation station runtimes by two minutes,” “use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks,” and “fix a leaky toilet.” If a household pledged to adopt all three of these practices the estimated daily savings would be 132 gallons per day.

In Texas, the three counties registered to save the most gallons are Collin, Guadalupe and Ellis. To date Nueces has had only five pledges made. But the total voluntary water savings of those pledges was 678 gallons.

To start saving water and take the challenge, go to the website; http://www.40gallonchallenge.org/ and complete the checklist of water-saving practices, it is time for Nueces County residents to make a mark on the map. The checklist includes both indoor and outdoor water-saving tips.

Individuals with disabilities, who require an auxiliary aid, service or accommodation in order to participate in any of the mentioned activities, are encouraged to contact the County Extension Office eight days before all programs for assistance. Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.