North Texas cities depend on lakes for their water supply, so it’s falling lake levels and the annual slim prospect for rain over the summer driving the water-use restrictions.
National Weather Service forecaster Eric Martello says average rainfall for the whole summer is North Texas is a little more than six inches.
“For the summer it’s about 7.86 inches starting from the first of June through the end of August," Martello said. "And probably the bulk of that is probably going to be coming in first part of summer, probably mostly June.”
Martello says an upper level high pressure system, or ridge over the south central part of the US is expected to keep cool air and moisture out of North Texas. And he forecasts average temperatures a couple or three degrees hotter this summer. Martello says an average 95 degree high for July and August could be up around 98-99.
The city of Dallas went to permanent, year-round twice a week watering a year ago. Carole Davis with Dallas Water Utilities says they don’t have hard data yet, but believe it is and will pay off.
“National studies have shown that maximum twice-weekly watering restrictions can reduce outdoor water use in the summer months by 16 percent,” Davis said.
Davis says that adds to up. She says the city’s done well since 2001 when Dallas increased its focus on water conservation.
“Dallas citizens have helped us save some 165 billion gallons of water," Davis said. "That’s enough to fill a small lake.”
The Tarrant Regional Water District puts its lake levels at about 75 percent of capacity. In the North Texas Municipal Water District Lake Lavon has shrunk to 67 percent of capacity. Fines for violating the watering restrictions in Dallas, Fort Worth and some suburban cities can run up to $2,000.