North Texas cities adding year-long water restrictions

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
The City of Lewisville said Thursday morning they were joining many other North Texas cities by limiting when residents can use outdoor sprinklers.

When residents can water depends on their address.

LEWISVILLE, TX (KXAS) - The City of Lewisville said Thursday morning they were joining many other North Texas cities by limiting when residents can use outdoor sprinklers.

Beginning May 1, the city, which purchases water from Dallas Water Utilities, is limiting outdoor watering for all customers year round to twice weekly and on assigned days only.

In Lewisville, those with even-numbered addresses, or no address, can water on Tuesday and Saturday. Those with odd numbers can water on Wednesday and Sunday. Commercial or multifamily customers can water on Monday and Thursday. Watering must also be done between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.

Lewisville is already warning that the city may move to limit watering to once a week, or ban outdoor watering altogether if the water crisis worsens.

Last month, Fort Worth, which buys water from the Tarrant Regional Water District, approved permanent watering restrictions that limits customers to watering twice a week, year-round.

When residents can water depends on their address. In Fort Worth, that means no watering on Monday; Tuesday and Friday are reserved for nonresidential sites, parks, businesses, apartments, etc.; Wednesday and Saturday are residential customers with even addresses and Thursday and Sundays are residential customers with odd addresses.

It’s also a violation in Fort Worth if homeowners water at the wrong time, or simply water too much and create excessive runoff. Residents that don't follow the watering schedule are issued warning letters at first, though they could be fined.

"Right now the majority of complaints are watering on the wrong day," said Fort Worth Water Department Supervisor Mary Gugliuzza.

If someone logs a complaint via the city's website, smartphone app, or by calling the customer service line, the city will reach out to the resident.

That personal contact comes from someone like Field Supervisor Edgar Garcia, who visits homes and checks residential sprinkler systems. He also politely warns about potential fines.

He admits many homeowners don't expect an in-person visit after getting a second warning letter.

Last summer, the Fort Worth Water Department sent out 4,000 warning letters but only 88 follow-up letters. The fine for breaking the city ordinance can be between $200 and $2,000, but last year Fort Worth issued zero fines.

Frisco, which buys water from the North Texas Municipal Water District, sent 2,769 warning letters last year. The city tacks on a $25 fine for a first offense unless the water customer signs up for an in-home visit to check the irrigation system.

In 2013, 1,100 residents paid $28,000 in fines to the city.

Both Frisco and Fort Worth told NBC 5 education is key.

If the drought gets worse, many of the cities that have only recently enacted year-round watering restrictions may add additional restrictions.

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