I know a thing or two about water conservation.

In one of my past lives, while I was public information officer for the City of Sherman , I developed a water conservation program that won a first place national award.

But a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Or in my case, a lot of water has gone through the yard and into the street.

I’ve had some sporadic memory lapses the last couple of years. Those lapses led to water accidents — incidents where I left the outside water on, flooding my yard and draining my pocketbook.

My first water accident occurred last summer.

While I was at work in Greenville one Saturday, a frantic neighbor called to tell me that I apparently had a plumbing break inside my house. She said water was flowing out of my yard and into the street.

I knew immediately what happened. I had left the soaker hose turned on. I asked her to turn off the water faucet on the side of my house. She did and the problem was solved.

Well, one problem was solved. The water was off, but a pretty sizable problem came in the mail a couple weeks later. Yep, I’m talking about the water bill. I don’t remember the amount, but it was significant -- so significant that it sent a pretty strong water conservation message to me.

I did OK until this summer. I was doing some front yard watering recently with a water hose that I had pulled from a backyard water faucet. When I finished watering, I pulled the hose back into the backyard. The next morning, I realized that I had not finished the job. I had failed to turn the faucet off.

Oh, me.

There are two recent incidents that caused me to think about my past water accidents.

One involves a letter from the homeowners association for our subdivision. With our HOA, we get only two types of correspondence. One, you owe money. The other, you are guilty of a violation and you may owe us money if you continue to be in violation.

Never, never, never does the HOA say good job, congratulations, here’s some helpful advice, or Merry Christmas. It’s either money or a mess-up.

I really messed up this time. No, they didn’t catch me over-watering. Nope. Much worse. I left my water hose in my front yard. It was coiled up on the driveway. That didn’t matter. My water hose was a violation because it was in the front yard.

I got the next water-related reminder on June 29 during Royse City’s 4th Fest celebration. North Texas Municipal Water District representatives were on hand to check participants’ “Water IQ.”

To help save water, I pledged to:

• Water my lawn only one inch per week;

• Fix broken or misdirected sprinklers;

• Turn off the water while brushing my teeth;

• Fix running toilets.

There could have been a fifth pledge especially for me: Appoint a designated-reminderer — someone to remind me to turn off the water. Fortunately, in the Hardin home, wife Becky is my designated reminderer.

Working together, we can accomplish what I’ve pledge to do. That will certainly help with water conservation efforts and it also will cut the flow of big bucks to cover my water accidents.

And I’ve got just one sentence of advice for my friends who are in the same boat with me on these serious water issues: Water safely, you hear?

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