Henrietta will remain in stage two water restrictions for now, but the city is urging people to conserve when possible.
In stage two of the drought contingency plan, residents with even-numbered addresses can water lawns on even numbered days, while residents with odd-numbered addresses can water on odd numbered days.
With average spring rainfall totals, Henrietta has had one water release from Lake Arrowhead this year. With last year’s severe drought conditions, the city had already requested four releases by June.
The city council lowered water restrictions from level three to two in April. It was the first time for residents to see stage 2 restrictions in more than a year.
Lake Arrowhead is at 52.6 percent capacity, but also provides water for Wichita Falls, causing lake levels to drop rapidly during dry summers. Normal capacity for the lake is 63 percent.
According to the Texas Water Matters, a branch of the National Wildlife Federation, the best way to conserve water is through curbing household use:
- Only run the dishwasher or washing machine with a full load. If it is time to replace either of these appliances, check in with a utility about rebates for water-conserving versions and purchase those instead.
- Water lawns on the right day. Odd or even? Most Texas cities restrict outdoor water use to one or two days a week during times of drought. Save water and avoid fines by learning and following the city’s schedule.
- Catch the condensation from an AC unit and use it in the yard. Depending on how an air conditioner is programmed, it can produce gallons of water per day. Catch that water in a bucket and put it on the garden, shrubs and trees.
- Turn the water off while brushing teeth. This simple step can save up to eight gallons of water per day.
- Fix leaky faucets. Leaky faucets can waste up to seven gallons of water per day. To check for leaks at home, read the water meter and avoid using water for two hours. Read the meter again after this period. If the amount is different, a leak is responsible.
- Fix running toilets. Running toilets can waste a lot of water. Fix these leaks as soon as you find them. Check with the manufacturer of your toilet for the proper replacement “flapper” to ensure maximum efficiency.
- Inspect irrigation system. Have a system inspected by the water utility or a certified irrigator to make sure it is operating correctly, identify any problems and set it to run more efficiently.
- Install faucet aerators and low-flow showerheads. These water saving devices are cheap and easy to install.
- Install a high efficiency toilet. Toilets account for about 25 percent of water used in the home. Depending on the age of a toilet, some can save up to 5 gallons per flush by replacing older models.
- Make water conservation a whole-family activity. Challenge family members to think of new ways to save water and to be part of the solution.
Municipalities make up 24 percent of water usage in Texas. Irrigated agriculture is the biggest user of water in the state at 59 percent, while manufacturing uses approximately 10 percent of the state’s water.