Summer has passed to autumn but high temperatures continue, and the water level at Lake Waxahachie is taking the heat.

The lake level continues to fall and the city of Waxahachie has moved into the first stage of its drought contingency plan.

“We have triggered stage one of our drought contingency plan, which is the mild water shortage condition. The full level at the lake is 531.5 feet and we are at 526.27 feet. Stage one is triggered when the lake elevation is at 527 feet,” Director of Utilities David Bailey said. “When we trigger that level there are voluntary reductions in water conservation that we ask our customers to make.

While the rainfall this past week provided two and a half inches, residents still need to be vigilant in how they use their water, Bailey said.

Bailey said to help the city conserve water residents can reduce the number of times they water their lawns during the week, clear the driveway and sidewalk with a broom instead of a water hose, refrain from washing their vehicles and repair any leaking piping.

Residents can also go a step further by replacing faucets and fixtures with more efficient models to help reduce water usage.

If changing a fixture is not an option, leaking faucets can be repaired by replacing the washers inside of them. Running the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads rather than a partial load can also reduce usage.

Bailey said customers have done a good job this year in reducing the amount of water they use at home and encourages them to continue looking to save water.

The city treats around 6-7 million gallons of water per day. Besides Lake Waxahachie, the city also draws on several other water sources to provide drinking water to residents. Around five million gallons of water is pumped into Lake Waxahachie from Lake Bardwell, and another another half of a million gallons is coming from the Richland Chambers Reservoir and Cedar Creek Lake.

Bailey said if the drought continues there is a possibility that the city will need to enter the second phase of its drought contingency. Phase two is triggered when the water level at the lake drops to 524 feet.

Under this phase, mandatory water restrictions are put in place. Watering of lawns and landscaping would be limited to twice a week and non-essential water usage would be prohibited.

The Waxahachie Daily Light prints the lake level every Sunday on the “Coffee Break” page and Tuesday-Friday in the online e-edition on the same page.

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.

Follow Andrew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AndrewBrancaWDL or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AndrewBrancaWNI. Contact him at andrew.branca@waxahachietx.com or 469-517-1451.