Thursday, August 5, 2021

How Do I Know What Day to Water My Yard

With temperatures warming, many of us are thinking of getting started with our yard watering schedule so we can have that lush, green grass. All of the yard watering schedules and tips can be found at www.SouthlakeWaterUtilities.com. 

Before you set out to water your yard, check your sprinkler system. The W.I.S.E. Guys Program offers free sprinkler system evaluations. 

Once your system is good to go, check out our Water Smart Outside page to sign up for weekly watering advice, view your watering schedule, and tips to design a beautiful, water-efficient landscape. 

While we’re on the subject of water, check out the Water Smart Inside page for tips on checking for leaks and indoor water usage advice. 

For all things water related, go to www.SouthlakeWaterUtilities.com. 

Water Tower Maintenance Scheduled for Florence Tower

Clean tanks mean clean drinking water and this year is no different. Every year, Southlake Water Utilities cleans and inspects each water storage tank in our drinking water system.

This is done to ensure we provide the cleanest drinking water facilities as possible for our customers.

When cleanings are performed, the City removes the tank from service for the duration of the cleaning and inspection process. Once complete, it will be returned back into service.

Starting early next week, contractors will be on site to clean the Florence Elevated Storage Tank (EST).

The Florence Tower is on its own pressure plane, the high-pressure plane. To clean the tank, crews will be opening the two pressure planes and taking the Florence tank out of service for cleaning and inspection. This process should take about two to three days, weather permitting.

Some customers on the high-pressure plane may experience around 5 to 10 psi (pounds per square inch) lower water pressure until crews return the tank back into service by the end of next week.

Most customers on the high-pressure plane will notice the pressure change.  Once the project is completed, water pressure will return to normal.

For more information, please contact Southlake Water Utilities at 817-748-8082 if you have any questions.

How Do I Pay My Water Bill Online?

Paying your water bill from the comfort of your home is easy.

Step 1 – Find your Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card that you would like to make a payment with.

Step 2 – Open a web browser and go to SouthlakeWaterUtilities.com.

Step 3 – Select “Pay my bill” button and a new window will open.

Southlake Water Utilities Website

Step 4 – Enter the account number and customer ID found on your paper bill. You can check the box “Remember These Values” to save your information for future use.

Bill Pay Service Information Screen

Step 5 – Continue through the prompts to make a one-time payment. You also have the option to enroll in recurring credit card payments.(Note: In order to sign up for automatic payments, you will need to have a bill due and make a one-time payment through the system with the credit card you would like to use. The system will give you an option to enroll in recurring credit card payments, located at the top of your payment screen.)

Automatic Credit Card Payments Screen

 

Have questions about paying your water bill online? Call Southlake Water Utilities Customer Service at 817-748-8051 or email us at swucustomerservice@ci.southlake.tx.us.

 

How to Update Your Information for Southlake Water Utility Billing

Have you dropped your home phone line and only use a cell phone? Did you change your email address? Has it been awhile since you reviewed your contact information with Southlake Water Utilities?

If your contact information has changed, now is the time to review the information we have on file for you and make sure it’s up to date! Follow the simple steps below to update your information online or give us a call at: 817-748-8051.

  1. Go to the Southlake Water Utilities web page and select the “Manage Your Account” tab.

2. You will land on the Customer Update Request page. Complete the information for your account and select “Update Account Information.”

3. You will land on the Customer Update Request page. Complete the information for your account and select “Update Account Information.”

Then sign and submit! It’s as easy as that! Have questions? We’re here to help! Call us at 817-748-8051 or find helpful water information at www.SouthlakeWaterUtilities.com.

 

Systems that Work – How the City Invests in Water Quality

One thing is for sure, water quality has always been a top priority for the City of Southlake.

The City has consistently invested in applications to allow the City and residents to monitor water usage, detect for leaks as well as provide information about water quality. 

At the October 15 City Council meeting, Council approved the annual purchase agreement for BEACON Cellular Service for the City’s Water Smart Program with Badger Meter Inc. and upgrades to the City’s Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system.  

BEACON is a cellular technology system that transmits daily readings to a central database through a cellular network. It’s the main source of the City’s Water Smart application. The BEACON Eye On Water operates as a central database to store utility customer’s water consumption readings to accurately bill the customer each month. 

This software tool also improves the customer experience by providing the customer an option to review their water usage in real time online through the EyeOnWater app.  In addition, it equips Public Works staff with the ability to monitor water operations such as investigate leaks, identify backflows and hardware issues and maintain cellular radio communication. All meters within the City of Southlake are equipped with this technology and residents can take advantage by downloading the EyeOnWater app for FREE.

The upgrades to the SCADA system are geared toward the City’s water distribution system and waste water collection system which is used to monitor and control the functionality and operation of drinking water systems, disinfectant levels, storage levels of the elevated and ground storage tanks of drinking water, pumping capacity of waste water lift stations, and delivery capability of transmission mains of both systems.  

To maintain this system and ensure that it is reporting real-time data, SCADA software coding, servicing and maintenance are required when incidentals arise. Currently, the SCADA platform is operating on Windows 2008 and its end of life support will expire at the end of 2019. 

The new upgrades will have the Wonderware software which includes the procurement of licensing, installation, setup and running the program on a cloud base reporting system. The upgrade will also bring enhanced reporting features to meet increasing regulatory requirements. 

 “Using the Wonderware and BEACON technology to implement cost-effective solutions for both the citizens and the utility allows us to take proactive measures when and if an issue arises at the customer’s tap,” stated Water Supervisor, Kyle Flanagan, “It also helps us maintain water quality as well keep a real-time eye on the overall condition of water and waste water infrastructure .”  

 

 

Southlake Water Utilities Announces Utility Rate Changes to Take Effect October 2018

Water, sewer, garbage and recycling rate changes will go into effect on October 1, 2018, for all Southlake Water Utilities customers.  Residents will notice the increase on November bills.

Water Rate Change

In September this year, the Fort Worth City Council voted to increase its wholesale water costs. As a result, the increase will be passed on to Southlake customers. Southlake Water Utilities is a financially self-sustaining utility similar to electric and natural gas companies, where increased costs to the utility are passed on to consumers.

The City of Fort Worth is Southlake’s wholesale water provider.  Fort Worth’s pass-through rate increase amounts to 4.38%.

What does this mean?

For example, if you have a one -inch water meter and consume 26,640 gallons of water a month, with the rate increase your water bill will increase by $7.26.  This example is based on the average residential water consumption in Southlake.

Sewer Rate Change

In August of this year, the Trinity River Authority (TRA) Board of Directors voted to approve rate increases for sewer treatment at both Denton Creek and Central Regional wastewater plants. As a result, Southlake Water Utilities will be passing the 11% increase on to Southlake customers. The Trinity River Authority supplies sewer treatment to 98% of Tarrant County, including, Southlake.

The maximum residential sewer charge Southlake customers will see is $68.48 per month. This will also take effect on October 1, 2018, and the increase will show on the November billing statements.

Refuse Rate Change

In August, City Council approved a new five-year renewal of the contract with Republic Waste Services of Texas, Ltd. for waste and recycling services in Southlake. Under the new the contract renewal, residential collections will increase by $1.03 on October 1, 2018. The trash rate will increase annually by three percent and the recycling rates will be adjusted annually based on processing costs. Commercial collections and roll-off rates will increase by three percent on October 1 and three percent annually under the contract renewal.

You may view all of the above rate changes by visiting the Southlake Water Utilities webpage, then click the Water & Sewer Rates button.

Reminder, the effective date of increase for Southlake customers will begin October 1, 2018. Customers will see the changes reflected on their November bill.

Understanding Your Water Bill

It’s been a hot, dry summer. Triple digits are not fun for anyone and many of us turn to using more water to help cool down. From spending more time in the pool, running through the sprinkler and watering the landscape, it’s easy for water consumption to go up quickly. It’s easy to overlook until the water bill arrives with a higher number than usual.

The billing cycle covers the usage of approximately 30 days prior to receiving the bill; basically, you’ll be looking at charges for last month’s consumption rates. Here are a few important areas to pay special attention to when looking at the bill:

  • Reading Period – Make sure to take a look at the dates the meter was looked at.
  • Bill Number – This is a unique number assigned to the bill. If you have any questions about the bill, this will help customer service find your record quickly.
  • Current Usage – This shows the amount of gallons used during the reading period.
  • Usage Graph – This is a great visual to show which days had a higher usage rate.
  • Payment Coupon – This is what needs to be submitted with payment.

Water Bill graphic for MSNIt’s important to take a look at the current usage and the usage graph when looking at the bill and in particular, compare the same period in the previous year with your current usage which will give you a better comparison than looking at current usage versus the previous month. Of course, there are also things you may be aware of that should be reflected in your consumption.  Maybe you were on vacation during the billing cycle and the usage rates should be lower. There could be a leak somewhere that helped contribute to the higher numbers. If something does not look right with your numbers, we offer some great tools to help monitor water usage. The Eye on Water app brings water consumption monitoring to your fingertips and the WISE Guys program will bring a licensed irrigator to your house for a free irrigation system evaluation.

I know how to read my bill, but how do I pay it?

Southlake Water Utilities offers several different options for paying bills. The most convenient option is to pay the bill online. To do this, you’ll have to register and create an account.  In order to create an online account, you’ll need your account number and your customer number.

If paying the bill online is not an option, visit Southlake Water Utilities Customer Service office on the second floor of Town Hall in suite 200. Customer Service representatives are happy to help customers make payments and answer any billing questions. A third option is to use the Southlake Water Utilities drop box located in the breezeway between Town Hall and the west parking garage in Town Square.

If you have any questions about your water bill, please contact Southlake Water Utilities Customer Service at (817) 748-8051.

Southlake Water Utilities Serves Customers By Getting Things Done

In the old days, Kyle Flanagan couldn’t get a good night’s sleep in July and August. The water system was relatively new and hot-month, high demand meant he needed to monitor system data so water use didn’t overwhelm supply. This was especially true in early morning hours when irrigation systems kicked on.

With the buildout of the water system, things are a little easier, but Flanagan’s commitment remains steadfast.

“My goal is for our team to achieve great customer service through friendly, personal communication. We want our customers to receive the highest quality of drinking water possible,” says Flanagan.

Over the years, he’s proven that he’ll do what it takes to get the job done, not an easy task when 2.8 billion gallons of water are consumed in Southlake annually.

The system has steadily been improved, making its management less stressful. Over $41 million has been invested in water infrastructure in the past ten years, improving capacity and water quality. Additionally, the City has invested in technology to help pinpoint water leaks, and empower customers to monitor their own usage and costs.

“In 2015 we began our journey to implement a one of a kind program to equip all 10,000+ water meters with the latest cellular communications technology.” Flanagan proudly noted.

“BEACON Advanced Metering Analytics allows our utility to collect meter readings through the cellular network and provide customers with near real-time data on their consumption. Today, 100% of all water accounts are tied into this network at no additional cost,” he continued, pointing out that the cellular technology implementation is one of his team’s proudest accomplishments.

“All of the construction and technology projects, public information, and one-on-one contacts have been undertaken with one thing in mind,” said Director of Public Works Rob Cohen. “Kyle and his team are committed to providing outstanding service to our water utility customers.”

Flanagan, who has been known to visit with customers in their homes, sees the personal touch as an effective way for the City and water users to work together.

“He really cares about people and their situations, and he’s willing to go the extra mile to help,” said his supervisor Cristina McMurray. “The crew has great technical skills, but it’s their attention to the customer that sets them apart.”

Water customer Esther Spickler gives the team the ultimate compliment, “they are awesome!” The crew had noted a potential leak at a property she owns and reached out to the realtor whose name was on the “For Lease” sign. Not only did Ms. Spickler appreciate the communication effort, she worked with the team to shut off the water and meet her on site to discuss next steps. Spickler said, “It was to my relief, very quick and easy to accomplish.”

Southlake Water Utilities Operations Team (l to r): Tim Hackrott, Bobby Hardin,
David Chancey, Jason Camblin, Anthony Blain, Kyle Flanagan, Chad Henderson,
Andy Dumas, Kurt Long, Jerod Lawrence, Rudy Ramirez, and Greg Spinks

Flanagan’s crew works closely with strong partners in the Southlake Water Utilities (SWU) customer service office, led by Misty Knaust. The customer service team processes service applications; manages SWU billing; and troubleshoots customer issues.

Knaust agrees that technology upgrades have been instrumental in improving customer service. She has implemented a paperless environment, easing customer paperwork requirements and making information available electronically.

“Those who might be pressed for time find an easier and more productive process as we satisfy their immediate needs, in seconds, instead of hours,” said Knaust.

And she agrees with Flanagan that the cellular technology has been a game changer.

“Cellular connections and the easy-to-use Eye on Water application help customers successfully monitor their water usage,” she said. “It’s a great tool, and the staff is now able to reach out to customers as a courtesy, notifying them of a possible leak on their property as a proactive service we provide. Efficiency gains have also allowed us to provide an email notification to customers, when needed, to prevent possible disconnection.”

About 19% of Southlake customers are currently signed up to use the app, a number Knaust would like to see grow.

“We are proud of the customer service benefits this accomplishment has delivered,” she said.

Southlake’s Chief Financial Officer Sharen Jackson has praise for Knaust and her team, noting that “they manage the financial side of the business very well while working to ensure a great customer experience.”

Jackson cites Knaust’s leadership and appreciation of process improvement. “Using lean/six sigma techniques, they’ve been able to improve cycle times and customer satisfaction by critically evaluating what they do, and why.”

Water customers count on Southlake Water Utilities to provide them with safe and reliable drinking water. With Flanagan and Knaust leading the way, the water utilities staff teams are successfully delivering a high quality, high-value product…all while serving the customers with care and consideration.

Southlake Water Utilities Customer Service Team (l to r): DeeAnn Yates,
Cheryl Cooper, Kealoha Vaipulu, and Misty Knaust

Southlake Watering Schedule: When can I water and how much should I water?

It’s hot outside! We all like green lawns and beautiful landscaping, and in this heat, they need a little extra help to stay hydrated. While it can be tempting to water every day, the City does have a watering schedule that must be followed.

Here is the current watering schedule to help you remember when you can water.

New Watering Schedule Graphic

The best time to water is in the early morning hours (Midnight – 4 a.m.) so water has the chance to soak into the soil.  However, our watering schedule does allow you to water on your designated days between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. It’s also a good idea to establish a watering pattern for your landscape. The watering schedule does that for you.

“One of the best pieces of advice I can give to maintain a green, healthy landscape, is to consistently deeply water only a couple of times a week,” says Environmental Coordinator Ashley Carlisle.

Why do we have a watering schedule?

The current watering schedule was adopted under the current Water Conservation Plan in 2014. The plan aims to promote the efficient use of our region’s water resources. One of the ways the City does that is by using a watering schedule.

The growth of Southlake and the entire region in recent years has led to growing demands for water supplies.  Thousands of gallons of water can be used per house per day just to run a sprinkler system – a demand for water use that has a serious effect on water levels during the summer. Diminished water levels can have an impact on not only water pressure throughout the City, but also fire protection for the community.

How much should I water?

Most lawns only need water twice a week. A great resource to help you figure out exactly how much you should water is WaterIsAwesome.com. This site, run by Tarrant Regional Water District, offers weekly advice based on rainfall from the prior week.  You can sign up for alerts to be notified on how much water to use weekly. The site gives recommendations for the amount of water to use, zone runtimes, the number of cycles per zone and the total runtime per zone.

If you have specific questions about your irrigation system you can set up a free irrigation evaluation with the W.I.S.E. Guys program. A licensed irrigator will come to perform an evaluation on your sprinkler system with you and will provide you with personalized information on how your system can be used more efficiently. You could be eligible for up to a $200 rebate on your water bill for any repair work done.

If you have any questions about the watering schedule, contact Southlake Water Utilities Customer Service at (817) 748-8051.