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We’re not quite into the “dog days of summer,” but cities all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area are preparing for a relentless few months of heat.

To attempt recovery from an ongoing drought and offset low lake levels, the North Texas Municipal Water District has enacted Stage 3 water restrictions and Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) has put Stage 1 water restrictions in place during the summer months.

Stage 3 restrictions mandate once-per-week sprinkler use, and Stage 1 restrictions allow residents to water their lawns with sprinklers only twice a week. Individual cities have designated watering days, which are often based on residents’ addresses (e.g. addresses ending in even numbers may be permitted to water on Tuesdays).

Watering is prohibited for everyone between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m from now until Oct. 31; however, hand-watering, soaker hoses and drip irrigation are allowed anytime. According to the TRWD, “up to 30 percent of the water sprayed on lawns during the heat of the day can be lost to evaporation,”—hence the daytime ban.

Allen, Farmersville, Frisco, Garland, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, Rockwall, Royse City, Sunnyvale and Wylie are serviced by the North Texas Municipal Water District. The Tarrant Regional Water District serves Grapevine, Southlake, Westlake and Colleyville, among others.

Some North Texas cities take water conservation efforts very seriously. In the City of Frisco, for example, Stage 3 offenders are subject to a $25 fine on their water bill. Additionally, the violator’s sprinkler system is disconnected, and City employees place a red sign in the resident’s yard, noting the offense. If residents are repeat offenders, the fees are raised and the City can issue the resident a citation. The City of Allen is imposing citations up to a maximum of $2,000 for multiple violations, and Richardson has employees patrolling resident water use 18 hours a day.

Despite the strict enforcement to preserve one of Texas' most valuable natural resources, there are some exceptions for homeowners. Residents with pools can maintain normal water levels, and Dallas-Fort Worth area citizens are permitted to hose down cars, sidewalks, driveways and patios.

The potential threat of West Nile virus is another reason to curb your water usage. Preventing runoff and puddles of standing water—a breeding ground for mosquitoes—could have a positive impact on both your health and the future of Texas water.

Here are some tips for saving water in your home and lawn, courtesy of the TRWD:

  • Turn off your faucet when you’re brushing your teeth or shaving (did you know just running the water for a couple of minutes can waste two-plus gallons of water?)
  • Don’t run the dishwasher until you’ve got a full load (the same goes for your laundry)
  • Cut off your sprinkler system after a soaking rain and employ it manually, as needed

You can find more conservation tips here

You can read more about Royse City’s water conservation efforts here.