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Despite Spring Rain, Drought Returns To North Texas

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NORTH TEXAS (KRLD-AM) - With all the rain North Texas got during the spring, how is it that some in the region are talking about drought again?

The summer months, and scorching heat, brought with it no rain. Many areas returned to drought like condition, which affected people like Wylie farmer Ben Sholls.

"We had too much rain in the spring months and it affected our crops. And then since the end of June we haven't had any significant moisture at all." he says "Its like we've gone from one extreme to another."

So is there a way to harness the rain when we get so much, to lessen the effects of drought?

Chad Lorance with the Tarrant Regional Water District explains it this way, "People ask...why don't we just hold the water? The permits are put in place so that one entity or one lake doesn't hold all the water."

Denise Hickey with the North Texas Municipal Water District says the key is conservation, and one of those ways will be permanent water restrictions.

"Up to twice per week watering will be the new norm." she says. "Most homeowners water their lawns too much"

KRLD Floods: See the full series here

Some of the conservation will come from water recycling. Mark Olson with the Tarrant Regional Water District says they have begun to utilize wetlands.

"We get the water from our reservoirs, we use it in our homes and businesses. It goes to a wastewater treatment plant. It flows back to the Trinity River. We grab it and put it through the wetlands to treat it and clean it so that we can put it back in the reservoir without degrading water quality."

He says 20% of the water supplies consumed came as a result of wetland treatment.

But that's not all the Tarrant Regional Water District is building a massive new 150-mile-long water supply pipeline that will double the district's transmission capacity. Also three new reservoirs are in the works for the region...each beginning construction in the next 2 years.

Dustan Compton with the Tarrant Regional Water District says the bad news is, that even if you use less water, it will become more expensive.
"Our currently population is around 2 million people. By 2060 we need to provide water for 4.3 million people."

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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