The board of directors for the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) voted March 29 to relax the Stage 3 enhanced provisions of the NTMWD's Water Conservation and Drought Contingency/Water Emergency Response Plan that went into effect January 2012.

Although NTMWD still cannot access 28 percent of the total NTMWD raw water supply from Lake Texoma because of the zebra mussel infestation, recent rainstorms helped fill Lakes Lavon and Jim Chapman to near or above normal levels. Long-term weather forecasts are improving, and ongoing water conservation efforts by consumers combined to allow NTMWD to return to published Stage 3 water provisions. The Stage 3 water use reduction goal of 10 percent remains in place.

With the return to Stage 3 provisions, effective April 1, 2012, landscape watering is allowed once every seven days. In addition, the board approved Stage 3 provisions allow:

  • Use of soaker or hand-held hoses for watering foundations, trees and new landscaping for up to two hours per day.
  • Public athletic fields used for competition may be watered twice per week.
  • Golf course greens and tee boxes can be watered without restrictions.
  • Registered and properly operating ET/smart irrigation and drip systems may also be used without restrictions.
  • You can operate ornamental fountains if treated water is used.
  • Hydroseeding, hydromulching and sprigging are allowed.
  • Existing swimming pools can be drained and refilled.

The board voted to continue the following mandatory water-use restrictions:

  • • No hosing of paved areas, buildings or windows but pressure washing of impervious surfaces is allowed.
  • • No washing or rinsing of vehicles by hose except with a hose-end cutoff nozzle.
  • • No use of water that would allow runoff or other waste.

The NTMWD encourages consumers to follow the specific guidelines for their community. Consumers are also urged to check the control units and rain sensors on their irrigation systems to prevent unnecessary usage, and to repair any water leaks around the house.

"Because of our ongoing water supply issue with Lake Texoma, which normally provides 28 percent of our water supply, we all need to continue our conservation efforts to make sure we can continue to meet the long-term water needs of NTMWD’s member cities and customers," said Jim Parks, Executive Director of NTMWD. "We do not expect to resume pumping water from Lake Texoma until the pipeline extension project is completed, which is estimated for the summer of 2013."

NTMWD will continue to evaluate the lake levels, cities’ goals performance and long-term weather forecasts on a monthly basis to determine if the Stage 3 actions can be further relaxed before the hot summer months.

More information and tips on water conservation can be found at wateriq.org and ntmwd.com.