North Texans who have been blessed with rainfall during the last few days need to keep two goals in mind.
First, recent wet weather is no excuse to ease up on conservation measures designed to help preserve the precious North Texas water supply.
And second, we need to make sure that any rain that fell was not trapped to provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes. We have to stay vigilant to help prevent a repeat of last year’s West Nile virus outbreak.
We wrote about the ongoing need to conserve water about a month ago, but we feel the message is important enough to mention once again — we don’t want to become complacent because of a mid-summer shower or two.
Although unseasonably cool temperatures and rain could mean lower utility bills and greener lawns for a short time, reality will return soon enough.
Last year, many cities in Denton County reached record levels of water consumption during the summer months, and officials are hoping that voluntary water restrictions will encourage residents to conserve resources.
Several cities 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.
In our view, the restrictions are a proactive way to help prepare for late July, August and early September, and they are especially important considering the current lake levels.
As we’ve watched recent weather reports marveling at the pleasant temperatures and hoping against hope that rain would continue to be forecast, we also noticed that lake levels have gone up only inches, if at all, even though many North Texas reservoirs are several feet low.
“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.
We join officials in hoping for the best, but there’s one problem with voluntary restrictions — people have to be willing to follow them.
We’ve known some homeowners who had such a passion for lush green grass that it was almost impossible for them to resist frequent watering — but the price tag is too high, and we’re not talking about the monthly water bill.
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, some cities had to increase restrictions from voluntary to mandatory.
Few of us imagined that a spell of weather like the one we’ve enjoyed in the last few days would ever happen in mid-July, but we’ve lived in North Texas long enough to know that the worst is still ahead.
We’re typically hit hardest near the end of summer, and we all need to do our part to continue conserving water.
As far as the West Nile virus is concerned, regional leaders said recently that they believe their efforts to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the county is working, but they’re also urging residents to continue to be proactive by ridding their property of any standing water and using mosquito dunks that kill mosquito larvae in areas where standing water can’t be completely eliminated.
More information about West Nile virus and how to prevent it can be found at http://www.dentoncounty.com/WNV .