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CONSERVATION: EVERYONE HAS A ROLE

What if one day you go to your kitchen sink to pour a tall, cool glass of water and nothing comes out of the tap? You might wonder if there is a water line problem or momentarily question if you paid your water bill. But, what if one day you turned on the tap and there was no water?

That’s the situation state officials want to avoid when they urge people to practice conservation every day, but especially during intense drought like Texas has experienced in 2011. Right now, during this record-breaking drought, it is vital we all do our part to conserve water to help us make it through until the rains return.

According to the State Water Plan, between the years 2000 and 2060 Texas population is expected to double, bringing increased demand for water. In the plan, state officials are tackling the water issue on two fronts. They are developing additional water resources and infrastructure, including reservoirs and groundwater to help increase supply. But just as important, they are promoting conservation as a way to get the most out of the water we have now.

This long-term planning is essential, but during the drought Texans have more immediate water needs to address through conservation. One way Brazos River Authority customers can help is by following the Drought Contingency Plan guidelines when a drought stage is declared in their area.

The Plan calls for three stages of increasing urgency. Stage 1-Drought Watch is to make the public aware of the drought and to promote careful water use. Stage 2-Drought Warning calls for efforts to reduce water use by 3 percent or more. Authority officials can ask water customers to begin voluntary or mandatory restrictions on water use. Stage 3-Drought Emergency status has a goal of at least a 7 percent reduction in water use. Authority officials can ask customers to begin mandatory water use restrictions for their customers.

In August, the entire Authority reservoir system moved into Stage 1-Drought Watch. In addition, Lakes Somerville and Proctor were in Stage 2-Drought Watch. Barring an unexpected easing of the drought in early fall, more lakes are projected to move into Stage 2 while other will move into Stage 3.

For lakeside residential customers in Stage 1, helping meet needs through conservation means monitoring the amount of water they draw from the lake to ensure they don’t use more than their permitted 60,000 gallons a year. Lakeside commercial customers should stay within the 180,000 gallons permitted per year.

For cities and other water suppliers who find themselves under one of the drought stages, it is highly recommended they follow guidelines under the Drought Contingency Plan. One can only imagine the frustration of those who are under watering restrictions who see others in the same drought stage not practicing conservation.

This drought is going to end, but until it does it is up to all of us to work together to conserve our precious supply of water. To learn more about the Drought Contingency Plan, the current drought status and related information, please click here.