Water use in North Texas soared in July, but restrictions are still weeks away
TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) — Despite all-time water use records continuing to fall, water restrictions for most people in North Texas are still likely several weeks away.
Reservoirs used by the Tarrant Regional Water District were reporting more than 82% full Wednesday, and the North Texas Municipal Water District at more than 85%.
Even if the rain-free streak in North Texas continues, Stage 1 restrictions aren't projected to be needed until mid to late September, according to Rachel Ickert, the water resource director for TRWD.
The credit goes to years of conservation, which many cities made permanent after the drought between 2010 and 2015.
In the TRWD service area Ickert says conservation is saving an estimated 20 billion gallons of water a year.
The reservoir system is also large enough that rain in Bridgeport or Corsicana can recharge lakes even if nothing falls in the Metroplex for months.
"Not knowing how long it [drought] will last, our system should be robust to get us through several years of this," she said Wednesday.
Some communities are under Stage 1 restrictions now, which limits hosing off driveways and sidewalks, and restricts landscape watering to just a couple days a week. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality lists dozens of communities and utility districts in North Texas counties reporting
However water planners said many of the restrictions are due to strain on water systems due to record demand.
Mary Gugliuzza with Fort Worth Water said water use in July topped 10.7 billion gallons, an all-time monthly record, breaking the mark set in August 2011. At one point, data showed pumps were pushing water through the system at a rate of more than 580 million gallons per hour. That rate, combined with high temperatures, and dry ground can lead to equipment breakdowns
"We're OK, but, we are stressing the system with this amount of volume, every single day," she said.
Plano mayor John Muns pushed out a video request Tuesday, asking residents to cut back sprinkler zones by two minutes through September 15, which was aimed at trying to reduce pressure on the city system.
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