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4 North Texas Mayors Want Permanent Water Restrictions By Summer

By Joel Thomas & Jane Slater, CBSDFW.com
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ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – By summer, the mayors of Arlington, Fort Worth, Dallas and Irving want a permanent water conservation plan in place in their respective cities.

“For us to grow in our future, we’ve got to have that water,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings during a Wednesday morning press conference.

The mayoral group wants to set everlasting twice-a-week watering restrictions to help conserve. Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne said the region has “been in a water rut” and limiting water usage doesn’t mean that lawns will uniformly dry out.

“You look out today … there are yards that are absolutely beautiful,” she said. “Which goes to show, if you only water twice a week you can sustain great yards.”

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price announced that the four had been meeting to discuss the water limits at the beginning of the month.

The Tarrant Regional Water District, which provides untreated water to 98 percent of Tarrant County, says daily water consumption dipped by 8 percent in August after limiting watering to twice a week.

Standing near Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, Rawlings said water conservation is a must for the region’s preservation.

“It’s an issue despite the most recent drought and despite the wonderful rains we’ve gotten this winter and this spring, it stays an issue,” he said.

The announcement comes days after soaking spring rains –– even area lakes are at high levels. But the mayors say they’re looking forward to 2030; by then, the regions population is expected to grow by 3 million people.

“We don’t have enough water for those people,” Rawlings said. “In less than 20 years; talk about a federal deficit? We have a deficit right here in North Texas and it’s water. And that’s hwy it’s important.

Each of the four city councils will have to vote for the watering restrictions. The mayors expect to have votes on the restrictions by June.

Then, the cities will individually decide the penalties for violating the restrictions. The mayors also said they’ll be looking for other means of saving water too, such as reusing it.

“Even on our public golf courses, we reuse water for the watering of our lawns,” said Van Duyne. “So we’re not just looking at conservation as our only method. We’re looking at additional resources, conservation and reuse.”

Price said any new law in Fort Worth would likely hinge on an educational campaign and voluntary compliance.

Elsewhere in the state, Austin is also considering permanent restrictions.

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