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Dwindling water supply prompts Stage 3

By Kevin Hamilton
A troubling marker was realized this week with the combined capacity of Lake Arrowhead and Lake Kickapoo dropping to 40 percent, prompting the City of Wichita Falls to enact stage 3 drought emergency restrictions effective midnight Tuesday.

Iowa Park and the other 14 wholesale water customers dependant on Wichita Falls are poised to enhance their current restrictions. City Manager Mike Price said Tuesday that Iowa Park City Council will address the issue during Monday’s scheduled meeting.

In order to mirror Wichita Falls’ stage 3 restrictions, Iowa Park will be asked to upgrade its current stage 2 criteria (a 15 percent reduction) to meet a total 35 percent reduction, or 20 percent more in conservation.

Iowa Park manages some 2,750 commercial and residential customers.

The biggest impact under stage 3 will be for those wanting to water their lawns, with fewer hours likely available to do so. Iowa Park already has a surcharge of $100 that kicks in with the first gallon of use after a 15,000 gallon limit.

Council will consider lowering that pre-surcharge cap to 12,000 gallons.

Another $100 surcharge will kick in if a consumer reaches 15,001 gallons.

“Our goal is to keep the customer below 8,000 gallons a month,” said Price.

Restaurants, car washes, school cafeterias and swimming pools also have additional restrictions under stage 3. Industrial businesses at this point will not have restrictions.

Wichita Falls is at the third stage of a four-stage drought emergency plan. The plan’s priorities are listed in the order of 1) hospitals and essential health care facilities; 2) residential; 3) educational institutions; 4) industrial; 5) commercial; 6) irrigation; and, 7) recreational.

Looming ahead, in the event a substantial precipitation event doesn’t reverse the ongoing three-year drought, is stage 4 “drought disaster” plans. That would be triggered if the combined capacity of Lakes Arrowhead and Kickapool reaches 30 percent of storage.

In that event, the Director of Public Works shall impose mandatory restrictions on essential uses of water and take the following actions (if not additional ones):

1) Place a total ban on the outdoor use of water for nonessential uses. This shall include the possible removal of all irrigation meters from residences and businesses.

2) Suspend service to and pull all Fire Hydrant Meters for contractor use, until conditions return to a Drought Emergency status.

3) Continue an aggressive public relations and education program.

4) Implement enforceable restrictions on essential uses as developed in Stage 3.

The following is Wichita Falls’ stage 3 drought emergency restrictions that likely will be embraced by Iowa Park:

It shall be unlawful for a car dealer to wash its inventory of cars on any day other than the day the property is authorized to spray irrigate in accordance with the Water Rationing Zone Map in effect.

All self-serve and full-service carwashes within the corporate City Limits will be required to close the car washing portion of their business on one day each week. The scheduled day of closure shall coincide with the day that car wash is allowed to spray irrigate, in accordance with the Water Rationing Zone map.

It shall be unlawful for a car wash to use a nozzle that discharges more than 3.0 gallons per minute.

It shall be unlawful for a car wash to wash any of its bays with water, except on Sundays.

Irrigation: Spray, Sprinkler, Drip, Bubbler, Soaker
It shall be unlawful to utilize spray irrigation in any but the following hours:
12 midnight to 5 a.m. for Automatic Sprinkler System
8p.m. to 12 midnight for Hose-End Sprinkler Systems

Spray Irrigate or Spray Irrigation – a category of irrigation methods that utilizes devices that spray water away from the device orifice(s). These include, but are not limited to, pop up sprays, rotors, oscillating sprinklers, and impact sprinklers. A hand held hose is not Spray Irrigation.

Automatic Sprinkler System – a system of irrigation components made up of permanently installed underground PVC lines and spray irrigation devices that are controlled from an automatic irrigation controller.

Hose-end Sprinkler System – a device on the end of a garden hose that can be set in place and periodically moved from one location to another.

It shall be unlawful to operate a soaker hose, bubbler or drip irrigation system in a manner that causes the delivery of more water than the hose, bubbler, or system was intended by the manufacturer to deliver.

Definitions: Drip Irrigation and Soaker Hose
Drip Irrigation -- a method of irrigation that applies water in a dropwise fashion directly to the soil beneath rather than projecting the water in a stream away from its orifice. To be classified in this category, the maximum allowable flow is 6 gallons per hour per emitter.

Soaker Hose – an irrigation device made of permeable rubber hose that allows water to be applied slowly and directly to the soil without being sprayed up into the air. Soaker hoses fall into the drip irrigation category. A soaker hose will not spray water regardless of its orientation.

It shall be unlawful to operate a soaker hose, bubbler or drip irrigation system in a manner that causes water to run down the curb.

Watering Days
Watering days in Iowa Park are determined by the section of town in which the home or business is located.

The area south and west of East and west Highway may use outdoor watering on Monday;
Between East and West Highway and U.S 287 on Wednesday, and
North of U.S. 287 on Friday.

It shall be unlawful for a food establishment to thaw food with water. Food must be thawed by another method that is approved by the Health Code, i.e.

Refrigeration or Cooking Process.
It shall be unlawful for a food establishment to clean kitchen or food handling areas with spray hoses. The cleaning of kitchen and food handling areas shall be accomplished by means of brooms and mops only.

It shall be unlawful to operate a water feature on a Residential Pool, including, but not limited to, fountains, water falls, descents, arcs, and slides.

Residential Pool – A pool that is located on private property under the control of the property owner or the owner’s tenant and that is intended for use by not more than two residential families and their guests. It includes a pool serving only a single-family home or duplex.

If repairing a pool, it shall only be drained to a level necessary to effect the repair, and no further. Owners of pools that follow this restriction will be allowed to re-fill their pool after the repair.

Pool Owner/Operator – Fee title holder of the property upon which the pool is located, and/or business manager, complex manager, property owners, association manager, rental agent or other individual who is in charge of the day to day operation or maintenance of the property.

Owners Operators of pools that are restricted from draining the pool once it closed for the season.