NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Hot weather means extra water conservation restrictions are kicking in across much of the region.
The area served by the North Texas Municipal Water District has been in stage 1 restrictions since April. When added with a Zebra Mussel scare that has cut off one of the region’s bigget suppliers, Lake Texoma, locals are trying to take the shortage in stride.
Joe Green lets only natural rainfall irrigate his yard, but his Homestead Tomatoes are a different story. They get watered every 2-3 days. “The only thing I water is my tomatoes, he says, “What little water I’m putting on these tomatoes ain’t going to hurt nothing.”
Joe’s right about hand watering, but landscape irrigation is the number-one overuse of water in North Texas, and many communities are bracing for summer.
“During the hot summer months you may have to suppement natural rainfall once or twice a week, but no more than that,” says Denise Hickey of the North Texas Municipal Water District.
“Lake Lavon is only 4-feet low at this time and Lake Jim Chapman is 6.5, so we’re sitting pretty good; but nonetheless our cities still have to be prudent during this hot weather and use our water wisely and efficiently, especially with our outdoor watering practices.”
The same is true in other water districts. Irving is now on an odd-even watering system depending on a user’s address. Odd numbers are Wednesday and Sunday, evens Tuesday and Saturday. But nothing between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Donna Starling, the city’s water programs manager explains. “That is the time of day when you have most evaporation; you also have the tendendancy for more winds-you have potential overspray with the wind carrying the water away.”
Irving has as command center that tracks its 4-pumping stations and 9-water towers for capacity and pressure. According to Starling, “We monitor how water is being used and how it’s being distributed throughout the city on an hour-to-hour basis. And we have to make sure we have the water there at the time of day when people need to have it.”
Fort Worth and the Tarrant Regional Water District report reservoirs are at 83 percent capacity and mandatory restrictions will kick in at 75 percent. In the meantime Soutlake, Colleyville, and Grapevine are asking residents for voluntary irrigation compliance. Most have an odd-even system similar to Irving’s.
As Joe Green says, water is precious. “We’ll always have water; good water, too.”
Dallas, the area’s largest provider, reports no issue so far but urges conservation at all times. Check with your water provider for local conservation steps.
Another harbinger of summer is algae on area lakes. The town of Prosper says it’s already making water taste and smell funny, but it’s okay to drink.