— By BRIAN SMITH
Changes in the Weatherford Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan will begin April 1.
Director of Water/Wastewater Utilities James Hotopp said one of the changes comes from dropping from the previous five stages of drought control to three, which is more in line with what other cities have.
Under the new plan, many items are more clearly defined, Hotopp said. The first water contingency plan was adopted in 2002 with revisions made in 2004 and 2009.
What determines each stage, or trigger level, are the levels at Lake Weatherford, Hotopp said. Because the lake level as of Saturday was reported at 888.15 feet and the Stage 1 restrictions kick in at 889 feet, these restrictions will begin April 1.
Lake Weatherford is down nearly 8 feet and at 57 percent capacity, according to the Texas Water Development Board’s online data.
• Persons with addresses that end in an even number will water on Wednesdays and Saturdays only while odd-numbered addresses will be allowed to water on Thursdays and Sundays only. Local government entities such as the city, schools and such will water on Tuesdays and Fridays.
• The hosing of buildings for purposes other than fire protection or surface preparation is prohibited.
• Washing of vehicles must be done with a handheld bucket or hose equipped with a shutoff nozzle.
• No watering will be allowed on Mondays by anybody at any stage restriction.
Residents can water from midnight to 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight on their designated days. Hotopp said 30-day waivers to the restrictions can be given for new construction or other reasons that will be looked at by the city’s utility board.
“Residents can still water foundations during any stage of the restrictions with a soaker hose,” Hotopp said. Stage 2 restrictions will begin when the lake level drops to 887.5 feet. Hotopp said a change in the pump policy, which changes the level of when the city begins pumping water from Lake Benbrook from 885.5 to 888 feet, will help keep Lake Weatherford at or above 888 feet.
Under Stage 2:
• Watering is only done once a week with even numbered addresses watering only on Saturday and odd numbered only on Sunday. Local governmental entities will water on Fridays only.
• Hosing of paved areas such as sidewalks and driveways are not allowed, except to alleviate a health or safety hazard.
• Refilling of swimming pools, fountains or ponds is banned, except for the support of aquatic life.
Under the most stringent, or Stage 3 restrictions, which begin at 885.5 feet:
• All outdoor watering is prohibited. Automatic car washes are still allowed.
Hotopp said at Stage 3, the city is no longer able to pump water from the lake and keep up with normal demand. The city has not been at such a stage except for when a water main broke at the water plant back in 2010, Hotopp said. Other than that event, which lasted about a day before a temporary fix was made, the city has not gone below 888 feet within the last five years.
Residents will see a flyer describing the plan and restrictions in their utility bills this month. The entire plan, which includes conservation tips, is available online by visiting the city’s website here.
Updates on the drought plan as a whole can be received by logging onto www.facebook.com/Weatherford WaterUtilities.