With no end in sight to the severe drought gripping our state, Lewisville City Council has amended the city’s Emergency Water Management Plan to set year-round restrictions on outdoor watering for all customers.
The changes, which went into effect on May 1, limit customers to two outdoor waterings per week on assigned days. In addition, during the hotter months from May to September, daytime watering will be prohibited in most cases. The restrictions will apply to all City water customers.
These restrictions are almost identical to those used during July and August of 2013, and which resulted in about a 10 percent reduction in water use citywide compared to the same two months in 2012. They are essentially the same as the voluntary measures already in place year-round.
Watering schedule for residential customers will be determined by street address.
Properties with even-numbered address (ending in 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8) or no street address will be allowed to water on Tuesday and Saturday.
Properties with odd-numbered address (ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, 9) will be allowed to water on Wednesday and Sunday.
Commercial and multi-family customers will be allowed to water on Monday and Thursday.
To further reduce water use during peak summer months, outdoor watering between May 1 and Sept. 30 will not be allowed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
There are provisions for variances in certain circumstances, including:
Properties with irrigation systems that do not tap into the City water supply. This includes properties with their own water well, and properties that have an approved detention system that recycles the irrigation water.
Properties that are too large for all irrigation zones to be watered within the allowed time. Those properties can request a variance allowing them to spread their watering into additional days, but with each zone only being watered the approved number of times.
Properties that install new sod or landscaping. A variance can be requested to allow more frequent watering for a set period of time to allow the new plantings to become established.
The city is working on a plan to place temporary yard signs at those locations so passersby will be aware that a variance was issued.
Hand-watering and soaker hoses are allowed at any time during Stage 1, but would be restricted during Stage 2 and Stage 3. This includes landscaping and foundations. These watering methods are excluded from Stage 1 restrictions because they typically use less water than sprinklers and are far less susceptible to evaporation, over-watering, or water landing on pavement and other impermeable surfaces.
Lewisville purchases water from Dallas Water Utilities, and thus is required to adopt similar conservation provisions to those applied in Dallas. Similar restrictions already have been adopted in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and many other cities in the region.
If the North Texas water crisis worsens and additional conservation measures are needed, Lewisville could implement additional restrictions. This could include weekly outdoor watering or a complete ban on outdoor watering.
To report suspected watering violations, call 972.219.3510.
How do I apply for a variance, and how much does it cost?
There is no cost to apply for a variance. You can submit a request via email to email@example.com. Please include a description of your specific variance request, including why you are seeking a variance and what accommodations you want made. Although not every variance can be granted, the City will attempt to accommodate reasonable requests related to new plantings, large tracts, and non-City water sources.
According to a 2004 study conducted in Colorado through the American Water Resources Association, mandatory outdoor watering restrictions are highly effective in reducing water use. That study showed water-use reductions of 18 to 56 percent during mandatory restrictions, compared to just 4 to 12 percent under voluntary measures. As one might expect, the cities with the strictest measures typically saw the greatest reduction in water use.
Lewisville enacted drought-related mandatory outdoor watering restrictions for the first time in July and August of 2013. This 60-day period was selected because it is generally the highest demand period for water each year. Results from that 60-day period are consistent with the Colorado study.
During the restrictions, citywide water use dropped by 10 percent compared to the same months in 2012, and by 29 percent compared to the record dry summer of 2011. Total billable gallons of water used during July and August of 2013 were 886 million, compared to 998 million during those months in 2012 when voluntary measures were in place.
Water use by both residential and irrigation customers during July-August 2013 was lower than the same two months for any of the previous four years, and by a significant amount.
That is particularly important because residential customers use about 45 percent of the water demand and commercial irrigation systems use about 20 percent, so reductions among those two classes of water users have the greatest overall impact.
The reduction might have been more significant during 2013, but city officials decided to be lenient in their enforcement of the restrictions. This was done for two primary reasons – customers had never before faced mandatory restrictions in Lewisville so needed to be educated, and the two-month restrictions gave the City a chance to measure effectiveness.
During the two months of mandatory restrictions, a total of 222 notices of violation were issued (124 in July and 98 in August). Most of those were written notices, and only six were actual warning citations. No fines were assessed.
The year-round mandatory restrictions that took effect May 1, 2014, will more strictly enforcement's following a brief “introductory” period and public education campaign. City workers will be trained to watch for possible watering violations, and inspectors will respond quickly to possibly violations reported by the public. Voluntary compliance is preferable – and the right thing to do – but stricter enforcement is planned in order to help avoid a possible water crisis in Lewisville.
Is there anything the City can do to get more rain?