Plano is urging its citizens to be “water smart” with a new emphasis on education.
On Wednesday, City Manager Bruce Glasscock spoke at a news conference, saying, in his opinion, the current Stage 3 water restrictions imposed by the North Texas Municipal Water District should be considered “the new normal” for today and for the future.
“The fact of the matter is Plano is the second largest user of water out of our district,” Glasscock said. “Over 50 percent of the water usage in our city and the district is from sprinklers.”
Plano is urging conservation, including citizens turning off automatic irrigation systems, instead running sprinklers on a manual setting.
They also encourage giving up irrigation altogether in favor of hand watering lawns and foundations.
Plano has recently adopted the recommendation from the water district to impose twice-per-month restrictions on irrigation.
Other city councils within the district, including neighboring Frisco, have not yet imposed the same rules.
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Glasscock said that issue is the district’s responsibility to handle and an individual city’s decision.
“We need to make sure that what we do and the part we play has a positive impact,” he added.
Plano Public Works Director Jerry Cosgrove said the city has decreased its water usage by 12 percent, above the water district’s 10 percent goal.
However, the city will soon be ramping up enforcement, not just for people watering at the wrong time of day, between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., but for those deemed to be wasting water, for example, running an excessive amount into the storm drains.
While the campaign focuses on education, Cosgrove added the city has turned off sprinklers systems to 1,000 homes for violations in the past year.
The goal is to stave off Stage 4 restrictions, which are possible if district reservoir lake levels continue to decline.