By the end of May, the North Texas Municipal Water District will be able to tap into its reservoir at Lake Texoma.
It’s the first time the supply has been available in five years.
North Texas Municipal Water District spokeswoman Denise Hickey said the problem was the zebra mussel infestation, which clogged pipelines, as well as federal law against carrying an invasive species across state lines.
Severe drought made the situation worse.
Currently, Lavon Lake, another major reservoir, is 12 feet below capacity. Lake Texoma is closing in on being nine feet low.
“It is just the nature of drought that we have to adapt,” Hickey said.
The pipeline, built at a cost of $300 million, which increased water rates across dozens of member cities, is 48 miles long, bringing raw water from Texoma to the Wylie water treatment plant.
Though Texoma represents 28 percent of the district’s supply, Hickey said the ability to access that water does not mean people can expect a lessening of Stage 3 water restrictions.
“It will help, however, it will not ease our watering restrictions because drought continues to persist,” she said. “No one knows when the drought is going to end.”
Though Texoma is also dealing with low lake levels, Hickey said if the district taps into all of the supply to which it is legally allowed, it would only bring the lake down another foot.
She adds that amount of water has only been taken once in the reservoir’s history.
About the North Texas Municipal Water District
The NTMWD serves the following member cities: Allen, Farmersville, Forney, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Princeton, Richardson, Rockwall, Royse City and Wylie. Additionally, the NTMWD lists the following towns as customers: Bonham, Caddo Basin SUD, Cash SUD, College Mound WSC, Copeville SUD, Crandall (Kaufman Four-One), East Fork SUD, Fairview, Fate, Forney Lake WSC, Gastonia-Scurry SUD, Greater Texoma Utility Authority (GTUA), Josephine, Kaufman, Kaufman Four-One, Lavon W.S.C., Little Elm, Lucas, Melissa, Milligan WSC, Mount Zion WSC, Murphy, Nevada WSC, North Collin WSC, Parker, Prosper, Rose, Hill SUD, Rowlett, Sachse, Seis Lagos UD, Sunnyvale, Terrell and Wylie Northeast SUD.
The NTMWD sources water from five reservoirs — Lavon Lake, Jim Chapman Lake, Lake Texoma, Lake Tawakoni and Lake Bonham.
The NTMWD is currently at Stage 3 restrictions, allowing landscape watering once every two weeks through May. Customers advised to check with individual cities for schedule details.