Striking images of dried-up vegetation on lake beds once filled with water and motorboats stranded in their waterless docks are a stark reminder that much of Texas is still in a drought and water conservation must be a priority.
With water supplies from the Tarrant Regional Water District still below the 75 percent level, and rainfall averages this winter lower than normal, Stage 1 water restrictions continue in effect for Fort Worth and the cities to which it sells wholesale water.
The Stage 1 restrictions focus mostly on outdoor watering, which the city says can account for as much as 50 percent of daily residential water used during the summer. Under the provisions, lawn and landscape watering is limited to two days a week, vehicle washing (other than at a car wash) is restricted to use of hand-held buckets and a hose with a positive shutoff valve, and residents are “discouraged” from hosing off paved areas like sidewalks and parking lots.
With spring just a few days away and summer right around the corner, it is not too early to get in the habit of practicing other water conservation methods. The www.savetarrantwater.com website has plenty of suggestions on how to do that, cutting usage from the kitchen to the laundry room and bathroom.
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For example, taking a bath can use twice as much water as a 10-minute shower. And taking a couple of minutes off the shower time will save about four gallons of water a day.
“If you shower once a day, that adds up to 1,460 gallons of water a year,” the website says, noting a family of four would save 5,840 gallons a year.
Our water needs are not going away, particularly in this fast-growing region where the population is expected to double over the next 50 years. The TRWD says plans call for 28 percent of the area’s future water supplies to come from conservation and water reuse.
Although since 1999 water usage in Fort Worth has dropped an average of 26 percent per resident, the city is still buying more water because of the population growth.
We all must do our part to conserve — for now and the future.