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Try to conserve water supply

A lot of people are talking about the unusually bitter cold temperatures we’ve had this winter, and a glance at our heating bill tells us they’re right.

It seems like we’ve been running the furnace a lot more than during a typical winter, and we’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve had to deal with icy roads.

Yes, it’s been cold, but relief for that problem is in sight. We’ve finally made it to March, and consistently warmer temperatures are bound to arrive.

The icy conditions will soon be a thing of the past, but there’s another situation of concern that deserves our attention.

We may not normally consider the problem at this time of year, but recent events are making it a priority.

Part of our concern has to do with the changing season. It won’t be long until we put away the thermals and retrieve our shorts and T-shirts from the closet. We’ll grab the rakes and hoes from the garage, get the lawnmower tuned and check out our sprinkler systems or rolled up hoses to begin the annual ritual of irrigating our yards and gardens.

We tend to take such activities for granted. When we finish our gardening chores, we anticipate a tall glass of water to soothe our thirst and a refreshing shower to wash away the sweat and grime.

We don’t think twice about making plans for the summer, assuming that we will be able to fill the pool when needed and invite friends and family for splash parties.

But there’s one key ingredient that remains in short supply as we approach spring. Water levels at Denton County’s lakes remain below normal because of the drought across Texas. All the lakes maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Trinity River system are below their conservation pool, except Navarro, said Clay Church, public affairs specialist for the corps’ Fort Worth district.

Winter is typically a dry season, but what if the drought conditions continue and the much-needed spring rains don’t arrive? What effect will a long, hot summer of high water demand have on our already shrinking reservoirs?

The growing population in North Texas has brought an increased demand for water that must be met. That’s one purpose of our area lakes — to provide a steady water supply.

Like we said, most of us take that supply for granted, anticipating that we will always be able to turn on the tap and get the water we need.

But the ongoing drought is taking its toll.

As we prepare to enter spring, we need to put one critical item on our to-do list — practicing more effective water conservation techniques.

We need to refine our gardening habits, schedule our lawn sprinklers more carefully and cut unnecessary water consumption in every way possible.

Each of us has to do what we can to reduce our water use to ensure that the North Texas supply never runs dry.

Could that happen? No one wants to consider the possibility, but as the recent weather conditions have taught us, we can’t take anything for granted.