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TRWD: Water supply is in good shape

Posted July 31, 2018

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map of Texas showing levels
Though two of the four TRWD reservoirs have hit extreme drought conditions, East Texas lakes remain in the moderate levels, keeping TRWD's water supply up during these extreme conditions. (Map source: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality).

It’s hot, the grass on the front lawn looks way stressed out and you have to wonder as you turn on the sprinkler if there will be enough water to go around.

Don’t panic. Despite record-breaking temperatures and skyrocketing demand during this heat wave, the Tarrant Regional Water District (TRWD) expects to have enough water for the summer.

As of July 23, the seven reservoirs operated by TRWD stood at 93 percent storage capacity, even as the demand for water topped 500 million gallons per day. View current lake levels.

Current water capacity predictions indicate that supply should be at 80-87 percent by Oct. 1, when weather forecasts call for more rain.

“Right now our supply is in good shape. We’ve been much lower before,” said Rachel Ickert, the district’s water resources engineering director.

Temperatures hit 100 degrees for 10 days in a row July 14-23, with record highs set four days in a row, according to the National Weather Service.

This was the second driest spring on record at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. In April, May and June, 3.91 inches of rain fell in the area. You have go back to 1934 to find a drier spring, when only 3.21 inches of rainfall was reported.

The district was ready when its four primary customers — the cities of Fort Worth, Arlington and Mansfield and the Trinity River Authority — reported using 536 million gallons on July 19, up from typical usage of 400 million gallons per day.

What may be surprising is that usage isn’t higher, especially since the population in the district’s service area has jumped 12-14 percent since 2011. Conservation efforts such as twice-a-week lawn watering adopted by Fort Worth and other communities are credited with keeping usage close to demands the district faced in 2011, a year the district faced similar hot, dry conditions.

All of this doesn’t mean you can just turn on the sprinkler and forget about it. If the water levels in the lakes and reservoirs reach 75 percent of capacity, more stringent usage rules can be triggered.

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