Meredith Land, NBC 5 News
The NTMWD downgrades its enhanced Stage 3 water restrictions to regular Stage 3, which allows people to water once per week.
The North Texas Municipal Water District has voted to relax its enhanced Stage 3 water restrictions.
The water district moves back to normal Stage 3 restrictions, which allow watering once per week, effective April 1.
The NTMWD put the enhanced Stage 3 restrictions into place in January. Under those restrictions, people could only use an outdoor irrigation system once every two weeks.
North Texas residents served by the NTMWD are ready for the easing of water restrictions.
Sherry Farrell, who lives near Lake Lavon in Wylie, said she has seen a steady rise in lake levels. The lake is reported to be over capacity for the first time in years.
"It's raining almost weekly," she said. "I see no need that we need to be under those water restrictions."
While NTMWD member city Plano announced Thursday that it would now allow once-per-week watering beginning April 3, the district is encouraging conservation.
Because 28 percent of its water supply is inaccessible because of the zebra mussel infestation at Lake Texoma, the NTMWD board has been cautious in lessening restrictions, despite record rainfall.
However, with Lake Lavon now sitting at about a foot over capacity, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to draw down its level.
The Corps' decision is based on flood-control procedure, and the NTMWD said it has nothing to do with its decision. But residents of cities served by the water district say it's upsetting to see lake levels reduced while they are forced to conserve.
"It seems very hypocritical that we can't do that -- telling us we can't water, but then releasing water out of the lake," Farrell said.
The NTMWD has cited record rainfall, drought relief, new weather projects and successful conservation efforts as contributions making progress in its fight to increase water supplies.
It is still recommending usage reduction goals for its member cities, no matter what restrictions are in place.
The NTMWD serves Allen, Farmersville, Forney, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Princeton, Richardson, Rockwall, Royse City and Wylie, as well as a number of North Texas towns.
The district 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.