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Even With Rain, Dallas Ponders Permanent Water Restrictions

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
Bud is the most veteran reporter at CBS 11 News with 42 years in m...
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – With Sunday’s heavy rains and flash flooding, the city of Dallas waters systems reservoirs are at 98 percent capacity. But that didn’t stop city staffers from asking a council committee to take an emergency conservation measure on Monday, aiming to permanently limit landscape irrigation to twice-a-week.

Later this week, mayors of Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving will formally endorse twice-a-week landscape measures.

The state capital in Austin is also considering the move. Dallas city staffers told a council committee Monday afternoon it would reduce water consumption by 16 percent and extend current long-range plans.

“It will add about ten more years of use to our reservoir system,” councilwoman Linda Koop said to the committee after hearing a staff briefing.

But councilwoman Sandy Greyson and others argued that new trees and flowers have greater water needs than turf.

“That really isn’t adequate when you’re putting in new bushes, esepecially with a whole new landscape,” she said.   The alternative –– watering by hand –– may not always be practical. And cities that buy their water from Dallas may not choose to honor twice-a-week rules themselves, Greyson worried.

“If we’re asking our own citizens to accept these restrictions and then we’re selling water to other customers who don’t have these restrictions, and I’m sure most of them will agree with that. But if they don’t, they should,” Greyson said.

The committee put off making a formal recommendation. But the council’s lobbyist to the legislature cautioned if Dallas doesn’t act, Austin might.

“Within the state context Dallas is seen as a very wasteful city when it comes to water use,” Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill said. “That’s how we’re perceived in the state legislature.”

On the streets of Dallas, two residents said they thought it was a good idea.

“I think it’s fine,” said Linda Jacobs. “We’ll all get used to that because I’m sure we do need to conserve water and it’s just another way.”

“I think it’s a good idea,” echoed Carol Canda.  “Because I do think we need to conserve and I think people with, which I wish I had, but sprinkler systems would water every day a little bit … and they say that’s not good for your lawn.”

The full council is set to be briefed on the issue on April 18.   A formal vote may come as early as a week later.

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