WAXAHACHIE

The City of Waxahachie has updated its drought contingency and water conservation plans for the current fiscal year.

David Bailey, the director of utilities, presented both items to the Waxahachie City Council during its regular meeting Monday evening inside the council chambers. The original drought contingency plan was adopted in 2002 and has been recertified three times — 2005, 2009 and, most recently, in 2014.

Bailey explained that state law required that the plan is reviewed and updated once every five years. As this was the case, the utility department decided to update the water conservation plan as well.

“Both of these go hand-in-hand,” Bailey remarked.

According to the plan, the criteria for triggering and resending each drought stage ranges from 0-4, with “0” being normal and “4” being a critical water shortage condition. There is also a stage five emergency water outage condition, which would be triggered in emergency water system emergency situations.

Each stage has water reducing strategies and requirements to be implemented to reduce water consumption, including reducing irrigation, minimizing fire hydrant flushing activities and raising the fines for water consumption violations. Water reduction rates are expressed in gallons per capita per day.

Revisions to the plan include revising key dates and incorporating social media as part of the department’s public outreach efforts.

The council unanimously approved the water drought contingency plan update 5-0.

WATER CONSERVATION PLAN

The city also made updates to its water conservation plan. According to the 2017 State Water plan, approximately 30 percent of the future water over the next 50 years is projected to come from water saved through conservation measures. The Texas Administrative Code requires that public water systems in excess of 3,300 water connection to review, update and adopt its revised plan by May 1.

According to the plan update, water connections have grown from 14,101 connections and 31,731 people in 2014 to 16,904 connections and 37,286 people in the past year. Water use in the city over the past three years has grown from 6.4 million gallons per day to 11.8 million gallons per day.

“It goes through and talks about the types of water conservation strategies that we would implement throughout the year,” Bailey iterated. “Some of those things are doing public outreach, tours and education.”

Bailey presented the changes and the council unanimously approved both updates. Copies for ordinances adopting the updated plans will be forwarded the to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Water Development Board and the Region C Water Planning Group.