Water-it’s a blessing when it comes in the form of rain and a topic of contention when it’s in short supply.
With Texas in a current drought, many small towns are feeling the pressure to conserve water. According to the website United States Drought Monitor, JonesCounty currently is in a D1 or moderate drought level.
November 1, 2013 the City of Stamford implemented Stage II of the Drought Contingency Plan. As stated in the plan, one of two conditions had to be met before moving to this level. Either when the water level in Lake Stamford falls to 14 feet below the spillway or when the water level falls to 12 feet below spillway and total daily treated water pumping exceeds 1.4 MGD (million gallons per day) for two consecutive days or the water treatment and pumping facilities are incapable of recovering the total standpipe, elevated, and ground storage contents above 50 percent capacity during the overnight period of two or more consecutive days. City Manager Alan Plumlee reports that presently the lake stands at 14.6 feet below the spillway with less than ½ million MGD being pumped out daily. Stage III would be met if the lake level falls below 16 ½ feet below spillway or 14 feet below spillway and daily pumping exceeds 1.25 MGD on two consecutive days.
With Stage II in effect, that means some changes in water usage for citizens. The following restrictions are listed in the plan:
Residential and commercial yard watering, including golf course tees and greens only, is restricted to the following: Only between 10:00 pm and 8:00 am and Only on Mondays and Thursdays for odd numbered addresses, and Only on Tuesdays and Fridays for even numbered addresses.
Residential washing of vehicles is limited to that done by the use of a garden hose equipped with an automatic shut off device.
Washing of residential, commercial, public or industrial driveways, sidewalks, parking areas, windows or structures is prohibited.
Watering of public properties, including schools, is restricted to one day per week, from 6:00 am to 12 noon.
Violations of any of the restrictions as well as residential usage of 20,000 gallons or more for two consecutive billing periods include a fine of up to $100.00 per violation.
So what can residents do to help conserve water? Debbie Hailey, Jones County Extension Agent says it’s easier than we think. In 2011 the 40-Gallon Challenge, a national campaign was begun.
It encourages residents and businesses to pledge to reduce their water usage by 40 gallons per day. Running the dishwasher and clothes washer only when full saves 2 gallons. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth and shaving saves 8 gallons. Fixing leaky toilets, faucets and shower heads can save 15-30 gallons. Watering your lawn after midnight and before 10 am can save 20 gallons. These are just a few changes that a household can make that have a big impact.
For more information on the 40-Gallon Challenge just visit their website at http://www.40gallonchallenge.org/ and select Texas and Jones County to sign up. Residents can pick up a copy of the Drought Contingency Plan at City Hall. Add water conservation to your list of 2014 resolutions.