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Water restrictions get tougher for Iowa Park

by Dolores Hamilton
Restrictions for Iowa Park’s water customers have been enhanced to encourage additional conservation of dwindling resources in action taken by the city council Monday night.

The council passed an ordinance that restricts outside watering to twice a month, and surcharges for excessive use of potable water have been raised.

Iowa Park purchases all of its water from Wichita Falls. When that city’s combined water sources (Lake Arrowhead, Lake Kickapoo and Lake Kemp) fell below 40 percent storage capacity, Stage 3 drought contingency water use restrictions were implemented, requiring all wholesale water customers to reduce their monthly consumption by 35 percent.

Iowa Park has been unable to accomplish this, and Electra, which buys its water from Iowa Park, has cut down even less.

“The new restrictions will pull us closer to the 35 percent cutback,” City Manager Mike Price said. “We all face surcharges if we don’t meet 35 percent reduction, and the cost of water will go up.”

The combined water levels of the lakes that supply our water fell to 34.9 percent this week. Should the combined levels fall to 30 percent of capacity, Stage 4 water restrictions will go into effect with more stringent cutbacks, including no outdoor watering.

The new restrictions are now in effect. No warnings will be given and tickets will be given for violations.

Following are amendments to the current water use restrictions:
A. All potable water customers of the City of Iowa Park are hereby limited to one day during the first and third full weeks of each month for the irrigation of any and all landscaped areas as follows:

(1) Water customers south of Loop 370/Old Iowa Park Highway are allowed to irrigate landscaped areas on Mondays only;

(2) Water customers north of Loop 370/Old Iowa Park Highway but south of U.S. Highway 287 North are allowed to irrigate landscaped areas on Wednesdays only; and

(3) Water customers north of U.S. Highway 287 North are allowed to irrigate landscaped areas on Fridays only.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or other entity to operate an automated sprinkler irrigation system on their assigned water day of the week except during the hours of 12 midnight to 5 a.m.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation or other entity to operate a hose-end sprinkler system, including a hand-held hose, a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system, on their assigned watering day of the week except during the hours of 8 p.m. to 12 midnight.

C. It shall be unlawful to operate an automated sprinkler system, a hose-end sprinkler system, a hand-held hose, a soaker hose or a drip or bubbler irrigation system in a manner that causes water to run down the curb, drainage ditch or public right-of-way.

During the budget workshop, the council studied the city’s cost of services for non-profit organizations. These include the Recreational Activity Center, Friendly Door Senior Citizens Center, Iowa Park Youth Baseball Association, and Top of Texas Football Association.

“All of these facilities, for the most part, are offering a service to the citizens of Iowa Park,” commented Price. “They enhance the overall quality of life for the city,” added Council member Keith Dyer.

The council was looking for services that could be cut to free up money in the budget for salary increases or capital outlay needs. They found there were few places the budget could be cut without lowering services to the citizens. “If you are talking about capital outlay or a salary increase, the only way you’re going to get there is a tax increase,” Price said. He told the council if they don’t want a tax increase figured into the budget to speak up now.

“We’re here to keep the city running, not here to be re-elected,” Tim Sheppard said.

The mayor voiced his opposition to the increase, but the other council members felt an increase was necessary in order to continue the operation of the city at the same level.

“Let Mike do his job,” said Dyer, and Price was instructed to continue work on the budget with a tax increase and the council would hold off having another budget workshop until the certified property appraisals are in.