By Angie Bado, TSB Staff
Following on the heels of much discussion concerning the need to move to Stage 4 of the area’s water conservation plan, The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) Board of Directors voted unanimously on Janurary 26 to remain in Stage 3 of the NTMWD Water Conservation and Drought Contingency/Water Emergency Response Plan (The Plan) with the extension of twice per month landscape watering through May 31, 2012.
“We are all grateful for the rain this week,” said Jim Parks, executive director of NTMWD. “Unfortunately, several days of soaking rain can’t cure an almost two-year-long drought. Weather experts predict that the La Niña weather pattern may now dissipate between March and May, 2012. The newest forecast is good news, but it’s a prediction, not a certainty.
“It is critical for our communities to continue to meet or exceed the Stage 3 10% water use reduction goal,” Parks continued. “While we cannot change nature, we can all do our best to extend our current available supplies through efficient daily uses of water. We must all do our part until the drought ends and the Texoma supplies are fully restored.”
Last summer’s drought and record temperatures, combined with the zebra mussels that have infested Lake Texoma brought a perfect storm in this area that we had not seen before, Joe Joplin said recently. Joplin is one of two members of the North Texas Municipal Water District’s board who represent McKinney.
NTMWD staff recommended the district extend Stage 3 based on modeling that showed a recent improvement in long-term weather forecasts, historically more rain in spring months and more inflow into reservoirs than predicted. In addition, most cities are approaching or meeting conservation goals and NTMWD is in the process of purchasing an interim water supply from Dallas.
The recent inflows from rain received the last two months have a positive result on the reservoirs utilized by NTMWD, NTMWD’s primary reservoir, Lavon Lake is over 8.5 feet below its full conservation pool and Jim Chapman Lake is 10 feet below its full conservation pool. When a lake’s elevation is below the full conservation pool, the reservoir is declared to be in a drought. As of Thursday, Feb. 2, Lavon Lake is at a level of 486.63 ft. or 76.16 % full.
Stage 3 water conservation measures limit outdoor watering to twice a month and impose other restrictions. Residents should check with their city for specific conservation measures and restrictions.