With the end of summer approaching and temperatures continue to rise the need to conserve water becomes a priority. Residents can help do their part by putting in some water conservation practices at home.
“We are not yet in any official conservation stage as per our drought contingency plan for the city. Stage one kicks in when Lake Waxahachie gets four and half feet below spillway elevation,” Director of Utilities David Bailey said. “We are currently at four feet below. We are about a half-foot away from official voluntary stage, which is stage one.”
Bailey said stage one is triggered if the elevation of the lake drops to 527 feet. Under this stage residents are asked to do voluntary water conservation restricting nonessential water use to two days a week.
According to the National Drought Mitigation Center as of Aug. 6 Ellis County is in a stage two drought, which is classified as severe. The Keetch-Byram Drought Index rates Ellis County with a rating of 600-700. The index scores range from 0-800, where a drought index of 0 represents no moisture depletion, and an index of 800 represents absolutely dry conditions.
“We were fortunate in July to get the rain that we did. Temperatures were cooler and people were not watering as much. We now have the hot temperatures, the evaporation kicking up a little bit and consumption is going up. So the lake level is dropping slightly faster,” Bailey said. “We are fortunate that we are just four feet below. There are some water supplies in the state that have zero water in their lakes and are in dire need of water.”
Bailey said right now the city has adequate water supply in Lake Waxahachie to maintain health, life, safety and some outdoor activities. Currently one of the three pumps is on at Lake Waxahachie transferring water from Lake Bardwell. Water from the Tarrant Regional water line, which draws water from Cedar Creek Lake and Richland Chambers Reservoir, is being pumped into the Bob Sokoll Surface Water Treatment Plant.
Bailey said overall residents have done a good job in conserving water but their efforts need to continue because it is unknown when the drought will come to an end.
One of the first steps that residents can take to help conserve water is by making an inspection of their home. During this inspection residents can look at the types of faucets they have on sinks and types of showerheads they have.
Baily recommends replacing faucets and showerhead with aerated ones. These fixtures not only help to reduce the amount of water that is used but also saves money on the monthly utility bill. If changing out fixtures is not an option repair any dripping faucets by replacing the washers inside them.
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency one drop per second wastes around 2,700 gallons of water per year. Residents can reduce water by running full loads in the dishwasher and washing machine. When purchasing appliances buy more efficient models.
On the outside of your home use a broom to clear walkways, sidewalks and driveways. Also position sprinkler heads so they spray on the lawn instead of on the pavement. Use a sprayer nozzle when washing a vehicle instead of simply letting the water run from the hose.
Residents need to know where their water shut off valve is in case they have a water pipe break. The shut off valve is located in the water meter box. However, residents are encouraged to have a private cut off installed if they don’t have one.
Additional water conservation information is available at Water IQ website at www.wateriq.org, through the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/watersense or through the Texas Water Development Board’s website at www.twdb.state.tx.us.
Information pamphlets on water conservation are available at city hall across from the utilities office. City hall is located at 401 S. Rogers St.
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