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Tarrant Regional Water District Lifts Usage Restrictions

By Matt Goodman, CBSDFW.com
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sprinklers 53298936 Tarrant Regional Water District Lifts Usage Restrictions

Sprinklers water the lawns at a housing development. (credit: David McNew/Getty Images)

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The district that supplies water to 98 percent of Tarrant County is lifting Stage 1 restrictions on its wholesale customers, prompting the cities of Fort Worth, Arlington, Burleson and Southlake to nix all limitations starting Friday.

Tarrant Regional Water District spokesman Chad Lorance said twice-per-week restrictions have been in place since August of last year, as the district’s reservoirs dipped to 75 percent capacity. Some area cities initiated their restrictions before then, however.

Lorance says drenching spring rains have helped the reservoirs soar to 97 percent capacity and conservation measures sliced demand by eight percent during periods of peak use.

He estimated this saved between 35 million to 45 million gallons a day.

However, watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. is still prohibited.

Last month, the mayors of Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas and Irving joined to push for permanent water restrictions. The announcement came days after those spring rains helped refill reservoirs.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said the regional strategy is targeted at alleviating water pains for the 3 million new residents expected to call North Texas home in 2030.

“We don’t have enough water for those people,” Rawlings said in early April. “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 why it’s important.”

Dallas and Irving followed through on the plan; Fort Worth and Arlington’s councils balked –– for now.

Fort Worth Water Department spokeswoman Mary Gugliuzza says she expects the council to revisit the consideration later this summer.

“Those discussions about making twice-a-week watering the standard are still continuing,” she said. “Fort Worth’s Council was not ready to take any action and we’ll be coming back to them again later this summer with additional information.”

Despite the lack of permanence, Gugliuzza said residents should not take the lifted restrictions as a license to be wasteful.

“We always encourage folks to be efficient in their watering, to remember that irrigation supplements rainfall; that rainfall should be the primary water for their landscapes,” she said.

The Tarrant Regional Water District wholesales to Fort Worth, Arlington, Mansfield and the Trinity River Authority. In all, 1.8 million North Texans use water from the district, including 98 percent of Tarrant County.

Spokespeople for the cities of Mansfield and Grapevine did not respond to requests about whether their municipalities would also be lifting restrictions.

Those who have questions about water usage should call their local water department.

1080 KRLD’s L.P. Phillips contributed to this report.

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