With Summer officially starting a few days ago and with last week’s series of over 100 degree days, we have all begun to remember the heat and dry conditions of central Texas at this time of year. Last year was definitely worse, and the drought and water conditions were something to really worry about, but now we need to remind our residents of the need for adapting to living through the summer in Mason. Our utility bills for last month, which you just received, were over 15% less for the entire City than last year’s comparable bills so if yours are too high then maybe you need to take a few steps to reduce your usage. An email I recently received had a number of hints to reduce utility use such as: “Turn it up! About 50% of your electricity bill goes to cooling, so by increasing your home’s temperature just a couple of degrees, you can lower your monthly bill! Keep those air filters clean! By changing air filters once a month, you can increase your home’s overall efficiency. Insulation is important! Leaky window and door frames force you’re A/C to work harder. Ditch the incandescents! Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs for some easy savings.”
That was just the electricity side of utility use, they also had some good suggestions for water usage: “Check your bill. An unusually high water bill may signal a leak! Bring out the old toolbox. Fixing a leak is simple and can help you save many, many gallons of water a year! Hold off on planting. By gardening in the fall, you can better utilize rainfall. Watch the clock. Watering in the early morning or late evening ensures that your lawn will get the most from your sprinklers.” Those are just some of the conservation ideas that are appropriate here, or anywhere you live, and while Mason has had much more rainfall this year than last year we are still seeing a need for water conservation and wise use of this precious resource. Last year at this time the City had already started mandatory water restrictions, and we are needing to remind our residents that we have never lifted the voluntary water conservation measures and will begin to monitor them more carefully in the coming weeks. We want to address the issue before it becomes a serious problem, so we are requesting everyone to limit your yard and landscape watering to just twice a week, and to only water between the hours of 7:00 pm and 9:00 am to avoid the significant evaporation during the middle of the day. Rather than confuse everyone with even/odd house numbers and watering days, we hope that our residents will continue to limit landscape watering to the cooler hours of the day and night and restrict themselves to just twice a week for yard watering. A visitor from a neighboring community commented to me recently how nice Mason looked, and our grass and yards are green and healthy and look good for this time of year, but if we are not careful of our water use we will have problems in the coming weeks.
Another water related piece of information is coming your way, and should be in your mailbox in the next few days if you are a Mason water customer. Each year the City has to publish and mail a consumer report about our water system and the regulated contaminants, and you can see for yourself just what is in our water, although we are not mailing listings of out all of the non-detectable possible contaminants . Our local levels of chemicals and contaminates continue to remain very steady, or in some cases even decline, and are mostly below levels of concern, but the radioactive contaminates are slightly in violation of EPA standards. We continue to monitor this regularly and with the increased management the lower levels detected have continued to be reduced, but with the heavy pumping from our wells over the past year the range of levels detected has increased slightly and the averaged level is still just above allowable levels. This is a problem that is a naturally occurring result of the geography and landscape we live in, but it is one the City is constantly aware of and addressing in the ways we can identify that are both effective and cost efficient. One way we have provided for our residents to get absolutely “clean” water is the Reverse Osmosis station that the City operates and maintains next to the Eckert Civic Center on McKinley Avenue. The treated water is free if you will just bring your own container, and it is open all daylight hours and every evening. Please look over the consumer report when you get it in the mail, and if you have any questions bring them to my attention or to John Palacio, and if you would like to review the entire report that is thirteen pages in length as prepared by TCEQ, we have posted it on the City’s website or copies are available at the City offices.
Mason is now fully experiencing Summer and I hope you are finding ways to enjoy this time of year. Many people choose to go on vacation, and if you do I hope you have a great time and come back home refreshed. If you have kids visiting or living at home, the swimming pool is open most every day and ready for a cooling splash and loads of fun. If you are enjoying your yard just be aware of our water issues and avoid non-essential water use or wastage and do your landscape watering between 7:00 in the evening and 9:00 in the morning. And if you are staying inside then turn on a fan and raise the thermostat a couple of degrees and save some money for other needs. Mason is a wonderful town to call home and a great place to live and work, and together we will keep it that way for years to come.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley