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North Texas City Giving Residents A Watering Restriction Holiday

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jennifer Lindgren
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COLLIN COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) – Conserving water and following tough restrictions is part of life for people in many North Texas cities.

Residents and businesses in the North Texas Municipal Water District, where Stage 3 restrictions are in place, are especially used to cutting back. That includes water customers in the City of Plano, where lawn irrigation is only allowed one day every other week.

Connie Lenhart is a Plano homeowner, who does what she can to keep her lawn and garden alive by using the hose.

“It begins to take a toll too, because how many people are going to sit out here with a watering hose?” she said.

Lenhart is looking forward to having an extra day to water this July.

The City of Plano announced a one-time, one-day watering restriction holiday, where water customers can irrigate the lawn one extra day this month.

For odd house numbers, that day is Tuesday, July 22. Even number residences can irrigate on Thursday, July 17. The same ‘time of day’ restrictions apply though, so no watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“We’re going a good job of conserving water,” said Public Works Director Jerry Cosgrove.

So good is the effort, Plano customers cut usage back 40-percent in the first 10 days this month – double the goal.

One side effect, though, is detrimental to the water quality: millions of gallons of water are sitting idle in the city’s eleven elevated water tanks, instead of flushing through the system.

Cosgrove says that stagnant state affects the residual chlorine added to the water supply, to prevent bacteria from forming.

“Right now, in certain areas of town, we’re having a problem maintaining that residual. So rather than us having to flush a lot of hydrants, we’d rather have our citizens accomplish that through extra watering of their grass,” he explained.

The hope is the extra day will flush approximately 100 million gallons through the system.

Even with permission to turn on the sprinklers an extra day, not everyone plans to do it. Hami Safavi said, “I’m trying to kill my grass!”

Safavi, who also lives in Plano, gave up watering her yard a year ago. She’s slowly replacing the grass with vegetable gardens, herbs, and sustainable plants.

A conservationist by nature, she said, “We were all challenged to rethink our gardening strategies.”

Safavi doesn’t plan to turn on her sprinklers at all in the near future.

“We are conserving water. We have beauty and we don’t waste it on the grass.”

(©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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