The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) implemented a strong enforcement of
water policies in early 2017. The long-time regulation states that any water coming from a
designated irrigation meter or system cannot be used for any purpose that could come in
contact with humans. This includes filling swimming pools, fountains, dog washes, car washes
and ponds. In the past, the TCEQ’s regulation was not strongly enforced, even while many
commercial properties used their irrigation lines for the aforementioned purposes. Now, those
violations are considered a criminal offense and individuals found in defilement of the rule may
face jail time.

Most commercial properties use irrigation water for unlawful purposes to cut costs. Domestic
water is much more expensive to use because both water and sewer rates are included in
domestic water costs. Irrigation-only water rates, however, are lower.

Avoiding jail time for violating the TCEQ’s new enforcement is simple:
1. Ask landscapers and maintenance crews if they are using water from the irrigation
systems for any of the above purposes listed.
2. If the property is in violation of the rule, immediate changes to the plumbing of the
irrigation system and management are necessary.
3. Prepare for budget increases when complying with the TCEQ’s new enforcement. For
example, while filling up a swimming pool with irrigation water could cost around $300,
domestic water may cost upwards of $1,000.

In a volatile and increasing rate environment, it is important to consider the impact of
regulations on your property’s usage rates and costs. Contact the Banyan Water team today for
recommendations and solutions that address impending system changes.