Beginning Tuesday, North Texans who receive their water from the North Texas Municipal Water District (see list below) will be allowed to water their lawns only once every two weeks through next March.
That's the short version of the story anyhow.
Specifically, the NTMWD will initiate Stage 3 of the NTMWD Water Conservation and Drought Contingency and Water Emergency Response Plan -- and man is that a long title.
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The goal of Stage 3 is a 10 percent reduction in water use as well as increased awareness of ongoing water conservation efforts.
“The U.S. Drought Monitor anticipates the drought will persist or intensify through December 2011, so we are concerned about the declining water levels of our reservoirs,” said Jim Parks, executive director of NTMWD. “Conservation is a must, especially when it comes to watering your lawns. Stage 3 means consumers are allowed to water their lawns only once every two weeks.”
In addition to the record extreme heat of last summer and the ever-present drought conditions, NTMWD still can’t pump water from Lake Texoma because of the presence of invasive zebra mussels.
Lake Texoma normally provides almost a quarter of NTMWD’s raw water supply. Because of the infestation, it sits untapped while the NTMWD primarily relies on Lavon Lake though water from Lake Chapman is also used.
As of Sept. 26, Lavon Lake's elevation was down more than 11 feet and was at 52 percent of usable capacity. In addition, as of the most recent measurement, NTMWD’s Lake Chapman water supply was at 35 percent because of the continued drought.
The NTMWD Board action requests that member cities and customers (including indirect customers) implement the following water conservation strategies:
- Initiate Stage 3 of the member cities and customers drought contingency and water emergency response plans no later than Nov. 1.
- Limit landscape watering with sprinklers or irrigation systems to once every two weeks between Nov. 1 and March 31 and eliminate watering from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Residents should check with their city water department for specific city restrictions.
- Foundations, new landscaping, new plantings (first year) of shrubs, and trees may be watered for up to two hours on any day by a hand-held hose, a soaker hose or a dedicated zone using a drip irrigation system.
- Wait until the current drought has passed before establishing new landscaping and no hydroseeding, hydromulching or sprigging allowed.
- Do not drain and refill swimming pools except to replace normal water loss.
- Halt non-essential city government water use including street cleaning, vehicle washing, operation of ornamental fountains, etc.
- Accelerate public education efforts on ways to reduce water usage by 10 percent.
- Initiate engineering studies to evaluate alternatives should conditions worsen.
- Watering of golf courses using treated water is prohibited except as needed to keep greens and tee boxes alive.
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.