Dallas water customers are under "Stage 1" drought restrictions effective today. KERA's BJ Austin reports.
Dallas Water Utilities' drought response coordinator Yvonne Dupre says the recent rains have not "cured" the drought.
Dupre: The climatologists, the meteorologists say we're going to begin another La Nina which means that we are probably going to be in for another summer like we had last year. And we're trying to get a handle on it now because if it gets worse, the restrictions are going to become worse also.
Dupre says the big change in Stage 1 is a mandatory restriction on outdoor watering: no more than twice a week: even-numbered addresses on Sundays and Thursdays, odd-numbered addresses on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
The restriction applies to automatic sprinklers, hand held watering, drip irrigation and soaker hoses. Dupre says warnings will be issued to violators for the first month.
Dupre: But after that, our Code Compliance Department will be issuing citations. So, they'll get a warning the first time. But the first time they actually receive a citation, they'll get a fine is $250 and it will escalate up to $2000 if they continue to be stubborn about wasting water.
Dupre says Stage 1 is easy for customers to do, and in the winter lawns need less water anyway. She says the idea is to get water-users prepared for stricter conservation measures likely to come as the drought persists.
The Tarrant Regional Water District went to "Stage 1" of its drought plan in August. It also restricts outdoor watering.
And, the North Texas Municipal Water District is in "Stage 3". Its member cities have been asked to limit outdoor watering to once every two weeks.