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Cities seek help to conserve water

Profile image for By John D. Harden / Staff Writer
By John D. Harden / Staff Writer

Last year, many cities in Denton County reached record levels of water consumption during the summer months, and officials said they hope that continuing to issue voluntary water restrictions will encourage residents to conserve resources.

Argyle, Corinth, Denton, Lewisville and Pilot Point have already enacted Stage 1 of their voluntary restrictions, asking residents to limit water consumption during certain times of the day and to alternate days of yard maintenance. Officials say the restrictions prepare cities for the hot and usually dry summer months in which water supply levels begin to drop.

“If we all do our part, perhaps this summer we can avoid having to implement a more stringent stage of water restrictions again,” Corinth City Manager Jim Berzina said.

Berzina said all of the Lake Cities communities, which also includes Lake Dallas, Shady Shores and Hickory Creek, are in Stage 1.

“The goal is to reduce water usage 1 percent and to avoid any potential water emergency problems,” he said.

Berzina said 2011 and 2012 were hard on cities and forced many to enforce tougher restrictions.

In 2012, several water reserves dropped below the recommended levels, according to the Texas Water Development Board.

A board spokesman said the drop in levels was a result of residents using record levels of water and a lack of rain to replenish resources.

As a result, many cities had to increase their restrictions from voluntary to mandatory.

For instance, Pilot Point officials said the city broke records for one-day water usage, peaking at 1.2 million gallons. With the high water usage, the city’s water ground storage dropped below 80 percent.

Berzina said he doesn’t expect to see any increases in water restrictions in the next couple of weeks, but it’s still early.

“I think we were hit hardest on the tail end of the summer months,” he said. “We probably would’ve been a lot worse off without the restrictions.”

The Climate Prediction Center’s current models show a 40 percent to 50 percent probability that temperatures will be higher than normal for North Texas as summer moves forward.

Warmer than normal temperatures could mean that more restrictions could be enacted earlier, Berzina said.

The center’s models use climate indicators from around the globe to calculate probability for temperature and precipitation for up to three months into the future, National Weather Service meteorologist Jason Dunn said.

Through Sept. 30, the city of Denton does not permit watering between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., except for hand-watering and watering foundations with a soaker hose.

The Lake Cities communities and Argyle Water Supply Corp. encourage residents to not water between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Lewisville is one of the few cities with mandatory restrictions. Residential customers are limited to outdoor watering twice per week, coinciding with their regularly scheduled trash collection days.

For other restrictions, officials encourage residents to check their respective city water departments.

JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.