The Parker County city of Reno will remain under emergency water restrictions due to high water usage and a lack of rain depleting the city's storage tanks, the city administrator said Friday.
Reno entered Stage 5 of the city’s drought contingency plan on July 11, and city leaders extended the restrictions on July 18. Restrictions prohibit most outdoor watering, washing cars, refilling indoor and outdoor pools and outdoor watering with sprinklers or irrigation systems.
Restrictions also prohibit the hosing of buildings or other structures, other than fire protection.
“I don’t expect it to get worse, but you don’t know,” Reno city administrator Scott Passmore told NBC 5 Friday. “Since I’ve been here 16 years, we’ve never been to Stage 5.”
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According to the letter sent to residents July 11, water consumption reached at least 90% of the amount available for three consecutive weeks and water levels in storage tanks could not be replenished to capacity in that same amount of time.
Added stress to keep water tanks full at the city’s pump stations has resulted in some failures in equipment that keeps water flowing.
“We’re gaining about half a foot every other day in main storage. That’s on restrictions,” Passmore said. “Most of the residents have really been gracious and helping us with it, but you have the few that do water regardless of what you ask.”
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The city’s goal is to reach an 18 feet increase in storage capacity. Working with the neighboring city of Azle, Passmore said they have been able to reach 12 feet as of Friday.
The issue is coupled with a recent boil water notice, which Passmore points to water main breaks and leaks due to dry grounds.
“It’s an old infrastructure out here and when the ground shifts, it starts cracking the pipes. Once it cracks, they’ll just start running until you cut that section out,” he explained.
The population of Reno is roughly 3,500 people. Resident John Vaught said he and his family are doing their part to help the city as they navigate the issues with water.
“What we’ve done that I normally wouldn’t do is that we did use the ice that the ice maker makes, but with the boil notice, we’re just going to get bagged ice, especially with these little ones,” Vaught said. “I used to water the front yard, but us having these water issues, I haven’t been watering at all.”
According to the July 11 notice, some of the equipment and components needed for replacement are on back order and three to four months out before arriving.