LITTLE ELM — Conserving water, one of the most precious resources, is always a good idea and a habit that should become second nature, a fact that is especially relevant during the 90-day period known as winter averaging.

“The Town calculates each resident’s wastewater charges for the coming year by averaging water use for each metered home and business during the winter averaging period,” said Karla Stovall, Chief Financial Officer of Little Elm. “During that 90-day timeframe, the water that’s used in the home will give us a fairly accurate indication of how much wastewater is being generated, allowing us to set the annual rate from that average.”

Winter averaging is the most reliable indicator of indoor water use since homeowners are generally not irrigating their lawns during this time of year. There is currently no technology available to capture the exact amount of water that is discharged into drains, toilets, showers, dishwashers and other water-using appliances. Because of that, determining the amount of wastewater going into the sewer system by measuring how much water is used allows for areas to set an accurate wastewater charge on each individual home.

“Residents should become aware of how their wastewater rates are calculated. Currently, the winter averaging system is the most dependable and consistent,” Stovall said. “That’s why it’s important for all residents to know and understand the system, and to ensure that their outdoor irrigation is set at a minimum, if at all, and that all leaks are repaired and water-wasting habits are eliminated.”

Circumstances that might affect the amount of water used during the winter, and therefore the annual wastewater charge, include the number of people in the home during the winter period, a leaking faucet or other malfunctioning water appliance, washing partial loads of clothes or dishes and, of course, running the irrigation system.

“Conserving water during this period will not only save money on your water bill now, but also on the sewer bill for an entire year,” Stovall said.