Dallas Mayor Challenges Other Cities on Water Conservation

The mayor of Dallas is challenging other North Texas cities to boost water conservation efforts.

At a briefing Wednesday on low water-supply lake levels in Dallas, Mayor Mike Rawlings said he would make it his business to push the issue.

"I've talked to my fellow mayors about this, and we have got to step up in a major way," he said.

Last year, Rawlings met with the mayors of Arlington, Irving and Fort Worth to seek permanent twice-per-week lawn watering restrictions in all of those cities.

Only Dallas imposed the permanent rule, but Irving and Fort Worth have temporary twice-per-week watering rules in place.

"There's some political third rail that people feel they're touching here," Rawlings said.

The city briefing shows the current 30 percent depleted level of the six Dallas water-supply lakes is lower than during last year's record drought.

"That's an amazing fact that I don't think most people realize," Rawlings said.

On Tuesday, Texas voters approved a referendum that will help provide future supplies.

"It will create a lot of low-interest loan opportunities for suppliers such as us to help move projects forward and help save the ratepayers money," Dallas Water Utilities Director Jody Puckett said.

But the new supplies will take years. Short-term forecasts predict a dry winter that could intensify drought conditions in North Texas.

"We just can't kind of keep our heads in the sand on this issue," Rawlings said.

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