Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A part of North Texas already hit by drought can expect some more belt tightening.

The North Texas Municipal Water District will go to ‘Stage 3’ water restrictions on June 1st.

Homeowners in nearly 60 communities are going to have to do more with less water as high summer temperatures kick-in.

“It’s our peak use summertime, we’re still in a drought condition,” according to Denise Hickey, spokeswoman for the district.

She says that 1.6 million people will have to brace themselves for June 1st when cities from McKinney to Mesquite to Royce City will go to Stage-3 water restrictions which means just once a week for sprinkler’ed lawns.

Each community will decide which day of the week to water.

“The drought is continuing,” she says, “we’ve had below-average rainfall, so there’s been no replenishment of our water supply from rain runoff.”

Lake Lavon is nearly 8-feet low, and that’s typical of all the lakes in the system. Part of the reason is the district is one reservoir short. It can’t use its former Texoma-Lavon water route because of the Zebra Mussel threat to water feeding Lake Lavon.

The district is building a special enclosed pipeline to move Texoma water directly to a local treatment plant that will kill the zebra mussels without exposing them to the environment. But that will be awhile, according to Hickey.

“It’s about 40% completed at this point and it’s anticipated to be online by the first part of next year. So the summer’s critical to get through.  It’s our peak use, summertime, we’re still in a drought condition, and our Texoma supply will not be brought back online until the first part of next year.”

Jimmie Gibson of Absolutely Bushed landscaping tries to educate homeowners who want beautiful yards, as his crews plant foliage for customers.

It’s not only lawns that can get by with once-a-week irrigation. “The shrubbery is fine with once a week watering, the flowers you see now with tender vegetation, you come out once a week and hand water on that. Again, that’s the smallest root ball so it would dry out quickest.”

He says homeowners can cope with water restrictions if they understand their vegetation and plan for it.

“You’re still allowed to use drip irrigation, you’re still allowed to hand water all you want, and then usually cut your sprinklers back to about once a week.”

The water district says it’s waiting until June 1st to allow communities to prepare. Users are also urged to check sprinklers now and fix them before the restrictions hit, and possible fines that may go with those restrictions.
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