At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Council members voted to enact Stage I of the City’s Drought Contingency plan, effective immediately. As Texas continues to bake in record heat, the drought news for the state, including Nacogdoches continues to be bleak. Texas is now in the midst of its most severe one-year drought on record, according to John Nielsen-Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist and professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. Lake Nacogdoches is currently at the lowest level ever, and continues to drop at ½” per day. Even with the lake continuing to drop it is important to note that compared to some other municipalities Nacogdoches fares well on its water supply.
The purpose of the drought contingency plan is to conserve our available water supply, protect the integrity of our water supply facilities and minimize effects of a water supply shortage. While the contingency plan is a precaution, the City of Nacogdoches has already been working on conservation techniques. “We have been keeping an eye on our water reserves, and have taken a very proactive approach,” said City Engineer Steve Bartlett, “SFASU has already reduced their usage by approximately 10%.” The City has also been working with companies like Pilgrim’s Pride to create alternatives to their typical system usage. The City of Nacogdoches has several other water sources besides Lake Nacogdoches, including 5 active wells, with plans to bring a 6th well back on line.
Stage I of the drought contingency plan maintains voluntary actions of our citizens. Residents with even numbered home addresses are encouraged to only water their lawns on Thursdays from 8 p.m. until Friday morning’s at 8 a.m. and Sundays from 8 p.m. to Monday morning’s at 8 a.m. Residents with odd numbered home addresses are encouraged to only water their lawns on Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to Thursday morning’s at 8 a.m. and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to Sunday morning’s 8 a.m. Stage I also encourages citizens to participate in water conservation techniques. For example: Don’t ignore leaky faucets; they are usually easy and inexpensive to repair. Turn off the valve under the sink until you get around to repairing the leak. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day and will add to your water bill.
When you save water, you save money on your utility bills too. Saving water is easy for everyone to do, simple tips like washing only full loads of dishes and clothes are important as well.
While only Stage I of the drought contingency plan has been enacted, continued drought conditions could lead to City Council taken further steps to ensure the stability of our water resources. “This is a precautionary measure that we have taken, we appreciate the efforts of our businesses and residents in helping us conserve water during these drought conditions,” said Bartlett.
A complete list of water conservation tips can be found on the City’s facebook page and on the City’s website www.ci.nacogdoches.tx.us. Interested residents can also obtain a copy of advanced stages of the drought contingency plan by contacting the City Engineering Department at 936-559-2516.