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Board Makes Decision On Extending Water Restrictions

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COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – Some North Texans got a frightening look at the future on Thursday. The North Texas Municipal Water District voted on extending water restrictions Thursday. The decision was made easy by forecasts that the drought could continue for another five years.

The Wylie Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is one of the largest in the world — pumping 770 million gallons a day. But the lakes that the plant draws from are drying up at an alarming rate.

When the men who control the water for millions of North Texans met on Thursday, they learned that both Lavon and Jim Chapman Lakes are dangerously close to being too low for pumping water.

Mike Rickman, the deputy director of the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) said, “We may seem to be in a dire situation, but there’s still hope Mother Nature can come back.”

With charts and graphs, Rickman warned that the current drought is worse than last year.

The NTMWD board, which covers 13 cities mostly in Collin County, voted to extend Stage 3, twice a month watering through October.

Landscapers who packed the meeting room said the restrictions are too severe and argued that lawns will die without water once a week.

Johnette Taylor, with Roundtree Landscaping, said, “It’s not good for our business and it’s not good for citizens.”

Amanda Griffin is with Smart Outdoor Services Incorporated. She said, “It’s going to be very difficult to keep those landscapes alive with twice-a-month watering.”

To conserve what water is in the reservoirs, the board will ask cities to more aggressively enforce violators this summer, as well as continue a 10-percent reduction in pre-drought water usage. Three cities, McKinney, Forney and Royse City were singled out for not meeting their goals.

Now for the good news, next week a pipeline from Lake Texoma will start pumping water into the Wylie plant for the first time in five years — adding about 28-percent to the supply.

During the Thursday meeting board members talked about the possibility of enacting Stage 4 water restrictions in the fall.

If you don’t know what that means you may not want to. Stage 4 restrictions would mean no outside watering, water rationing and higher bills for the limited water being used.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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