Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dallas Begins Stage 1 Water Restrictions

Even as overnight storms bring blessed rain to the Metroplex, Dallas begins implementation of Stage 1 drought restrictions. Why now? The lakes that supply Dallas city water are still suffering from the effects of this summer's record-breaking heat wave and drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows a swath of Texas is still listed as D4 intensity, meaning exceptional drought conditions prevail. Current precipitation in the metroplex ranges from 47-67% of normal.
"Under Stage 1, the city is asking residents to use water as wisely as possible, by voluntarily watering their lawn with hose-end sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems twice a week with addresses ending in even numbers watering on Sundays and Thursdays, and those ending in odd numbers watering on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Hand-held hoses, faucet-filled bucket or drip irrigation systems
are permitted any time."
There are additional measures for commercial enterprises.

As Dallas Assistant City manager Ramon Miguez points out,
"Should the existing weather conditions persist, more restrictive measures may be warranted."
And what are the chances of that? The outlook through the end of the year indicates some improvement in the Metroplex, with drought conditions ameliorating except in the upper northeast section of the state. Sounds good, right, until you read the fine print.
Note: the green improvement areas imply at least 1-category improvement in the Drought Monitor intensity levels, but do not necessarily imply drought elimination.
In other words, a return to normal precipitation will not alleviate the water deficit accumulated this summer. In the DFW area, that's 9-12 inches. We're not out of the woods yet.

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