Outdoor Watering Banned In North Texas Town

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Homeowners are feeling the heat in Willow Park just west of Fort Worth, where a stage 5 water restriction is being enforced. (Published Thursday, Aug 4, 2011)

    Large lots, lush lawns and greenery drew thousands of North Texans to move to Willow Park, just west of Aledo, where standard land lots for homeowners range between an acre to 2.5 acres.

    But when one of the hottest summers struck North Texas, homeowners began to realize that the grass isn't always greener -- literally.

    Willow Park Activates Stage 5 Water Restrictions

    [DFW] Willow Park Activates Stage 5 Water Restrictions
    Homeowners are feeling the heat in Willow Park just west of Fort Worth, where a stage 5 water restriction is being enforced. (Published Thursday, Aug 4, 2011)

    "Everything is brown. Everything is dying; trees are dying," said Heather Olenjack, a homeowner in Willow Park.

    During Stage 4 restrictions, residents were allowed to water their lawns only once per week between 4 a.m and 9 a.m. Anyone caught watering at any other time faced fines of up to $500.

    But a after series of water main breaks, Willow Park was forced to implement Stage 5 water restrictions, which bans outdoor watering altogether.

    "Coupled with water main breaks due to the shifting clay soil we have here, and citizens watering outside the designated times, our storage capacity has been greatly impacted," Mayor Marvin Glasgow said in an email.

    He said the city had five water main breaks Wednesday. After each break is repaired, the line has to be flushed, losing 10,000 to 50,000 gallons of water, he said.

    Homeowner Catherine Sharp said she was worried about the possibility of fires and was also concerned that her foundation would crack or her landscaping would be destroyed.

    Trees that were planted during the spring are struggling to stay alive and some residents said the heat is drying up their bank accounts along with their lawns.

    "You've invested all this money in these trees and there's just nothing you can do to water them to keep them alive so we are going to probably have to replace them all," said Olenjack.

    Residents who have personal water wells can water without restrictions.

    While it's frustrating for some, others said the conservation efforts are for the good of the community as a whole.

    "It's for the good of everybody. If we can have drinking water, clean drinking water, shower, wash your clothes and do the minimal watering that we need to do," said homeowner Jim Walker.

    Stage 5 water restrictions will stay in place until further notice.

    Glasgow said more than 90 homeowners were cited Wednesday night for watering outside the designated times.

    "It is a shame that some people try to circumvent the systems that are in place for their better good, causing honest citizens to suffer also," he said.