DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The city of Dallas is the latest municipality to begin ordering water restrictions during one of the most severe droughts on record.
The Stage 1 restrictions will begin Monday, December 12. Even the reflecting pool at City Hall will likely be affected: Cutting back on the use of ornamental fountains is just one of the Stage 1 restrictions.
And they’re being imposed during traditional winter months, when rainfall would normally be more plentiful.
A nearby park in the Victory development is already being proactive. For Vincent York and his dog, Blue, cutting back on water use is only proper.
“When you come out here, you don’t see the water and things like that; it’s disappointing. It’s like, ‘Whoa, where’s the scenery?’ But it has to be done,” he said. “And it’s way better looking at it and knowing that everybody’s taking the proper steps.”
The Dallas water system depends on six reservoirs in North and Northeast Texas. Stage 1 restrictions are kicked in automatically when their levels drop to 65 percent.
On top of that, ongoing construction at its primary treatment plant means less water will be processed during 2012, city officials say.
“We will still be able to provide sufficiently with the restrictions,” says councilman Dwaine Caraway.
He notes Dallas plans ahead 50 to 70 years. But even planning is not a guarantee that there won’t be emergencies.
The North Texas Municipal Water District and the city of Irving want to buy water from Dallas. Those two are affected by a Zebra Mussel scare at Lake Texoma, which limits water they would use from that source.
And these obstacles are in addition to ongoing demands for water for landscaping.
“We all want to keep our green yards, granted,” Caraway said, “but we can keep them today and run into problems down the line and make even tougher restrictions.”
New restrictions mean residents will go to an odd-even system that allows watering only two days a week. But even then, residents are not allowed to douse lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Foundation watering, hand watering and drip irrigation can go ahead any day, but not between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. There are novel ways to save, however. For instance, Vincent York doesn’t use his dishwasher.
“But that’s because I don’t use a kitchen sink, I throw all my stuff away. I use paper plates and throw everything in the garbage,” he said. “But then, I’m a single guy.”
Dallas provides water to 31 other communities, which are also being asked to instill Stage 1 restrictions, if they haven’t already. Find more information about the upcoming restrictions here.