COLLIN COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) – The water source for Collin County is 5 feet away from the threshold where the North Texas Municipal Water District will initiate Stage 4 water restrictions.

Lake Lavon is at 480 feet, or 50 percent capacity, but should lake levels drop another 5 feet to 475 feet, Stage 4 water restrictions will be implemented, according to NTMWD.

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Stage 4 water restrictions would prohibit outdoor watering, except for watering foundations and using hand-held hoses, ban car washing and other restrictions.

Joe Jones, who has owned and operated Jones Lawn Service since 1987, shudders to think what Stage 4 water restrictions would do to his business.

As it is now, his business has dropped an estimated 50-60 percent due to the drought.

“You’re not working as much because you can’t get jobs,” Jones said. “People aren’t making the decision to do planting because they can’t use water.”

Despite low water levels at Lake Lavon, Jerry Cotter, Chief of Water Resource Branch with the Army Corps of Engineers said there is more time than most people think before North Texans will have to abide by Stage 4 water restrictions.

“We lose about 200 mgd (million gallons per day) a day. It’s pumped out of the lake for water use in the North Texas Municipal Water District area and then we lose about half of that to evaporation every day so we’re dropping an inch a day, something like that,” Cotter said. “We still have quite a bit of water. We think we have between three and nine months of water in Levon left at current rates with very little inflow.”

If the lake falls to 470 and 469 feet, NTMWD will lose access to 2 to 3 intake structures that move water from the reservoir to the treatment plant.

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NTMWD is currently purchasing raw water from the City of Dallas, under a 3 year contract and NTMWD is working with City of Dallas for an extension further in time.

Homeowners and business owners like Jones say they will continue to do what they’ve done since the drought began.

“Right now, we are just praying and praying and praying for rain,” Jones said. “My whole livelihood depends on it.”

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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