Home 9 Protecting Water 9 Watershed Protection Program

What is Watershed Protection?

A watershed is the land area that drains to a single point, such as a stream or lake. Everyone lives in a watershed, and many of the activities we do on a daily basis can either help or hurt the quality of water entering local lakes – the main source of drinking water in North Texas.

Watershed protection is taking action to ensure that water stays as clean as possible even before it reaches the lake and our treatment facilities. Doing so will help prevent water supply emergencies and keep treatment costs as low as possible.

The water we treat and provide to communities comes from local runoff, flowing above and below ground to nearby streams, and ultimately to local lakes. This means that the water that flows through our neighborhoods will eventually end up in your glass. This is why it is so important that we protect it.

After this water is used by our customers (becoming wastewater), it is treated once more and begins the process again. This is called the “Urban Water Cycle.”

To protect the water flowing through our neighborhoods, we need to be mindful of our daily activities and the products we put on the land in the watershed or that we flush down the toilet or drain.

You can help protect water quality by:

  • Properly disposing of potentially harmful materials (like common hazardous household wastes) so they don’t harm local streams and lakes.
  • Picking up pet waste and placing in the trash (their waste is not a good fertilizer and is a major source of bacteria).
  • Properly disposing of litter in the trash can or recycling bin.
  • Applying fertilizers, pesticides and other outdoor chemicals according to the instructions on the label (and not right before it rains!). If you can limit or eliminate the use of fertilizer by using organic fertilizer or compost, that’s even better!
  • Setting mower decks at the highest level to allow longer grass blades, and keep grass clippings and leaves on the yard, not the street (it’s natural fertilizer!).
  • Keeping our natural streams and riverways healthy. UTRWD partnered with Denton County and the Upper Trinity Conservation Trust to develop the Denton County Greenbelt Plan – a voluntary effort to aid local communities, developers and landowners in preserving the vital riparian areas, greenbelts and floodplains in their area. The Greenbelt Plan identifies many strategies that can be implemented to benefit water quality and the local quality of life.

Watershed protection is especially important when an area is developing quickly because many natural areas are being turned into urban ones, with more potentially hazardous substances that need to be (and often aren’t) disposed of properly. Our service area is expected to grow 500% in the next 50 years—one of the fastest rates of development in the country. It is urgent that we protect our water and watersheds as this development continues.

How To Protect Our Water

UTRWD coordinates a Regional Watershed Protection Program with local communities to protect our water and quality of life.

Each community in our program has the opportunity to help protect our water and key areas of our watershed (including creeks, flood plains, riparian zones, wetlands and greenbelt undeveloped areas).

Interested in the best way you can help protect your water?

Properly dispose of common, hazardous household wastes. This keeps potentially dangerous materials out of the water that we provide.

See what household wastes are considered hazardous.

Drop off household waste at a community drop-off facility or one of our collection locations.

More ways to help protect your water:

Check out the following sources for more ways to help keep our water safe.

Instead of flushing or pouring them down the drain:

Keep Your Pipes Working & Water Safe

Just because wipes and feminine hygiene products say they are flushable, doesn’t mean they should be. They don’t break down in the water like toilet paper, meaning that they can cause serious damage to your pipes and our wastewater treatment process. Wipes in particular can clog pipes, pumps and other components of treatment systems that are often costly to repair. This may mean higher bills for consumers in the future. The alternative? Simply throw them in the trash.

Learn more about Why Toilets Aren’t Trashcans