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Dallas-Fort Worth Out Of Drought - For Now

Andrew Rollinger (cc) flickr

Dallas-Fort Worth is officially no longer in a drought – the first region in the state to see that designation lifted. But, KERA’s BJ Austin says water restrictions are still in effect.

The U.S. Drought Monitor map shows the Dallas Fort Worth area no longer part of the most severe one-year drought in the state’s history. But, Mary Gugliuzza with Fort Worth Water, says this does not mean restrictions on water use will be lifted. She says most reservoir levels are still below what they should be.

Gugliuzza: The forecast for the next several months is still for below average rainfall for our area. We’re not ready to lift drought restrictions at this time.

Fort Worth water customers are limited to twice a week watering. Dallas water users are as well. And the department’s Yvonne Dupre says that won’t change. Expansion work at the city’s largest water treatment plant will put it offline for a time, and reduce daily delivery capacity by 25% this spring and summer.

Dupre: Even if the lakes get full, and we hope that they do, we’re going to have to ask people to restrict their consumption because we just won’t be able to treat the water fast enough to get to them.

The cities that get water from the North Texas Municipal Water District are in the most serious water restrictions – twice a month watering. The District’s Denise Hickey says the rains in December and January helped fill lakes, but not enough.

Hickey: Keep in mind, one of our sources which provides 28% of our supply remains offline due to the Zebra Mussel, which is an invasive species.

Water officials across North Texas say, with summer ahead, it’s way too soon to call it the “end” of the drought.

Former KERA reporter BJ Austin spent more than 25 years in broadcast journalism, anchoring and reporting in Atlanta, New York, New Orleans and Dallas. Along the way, she covered Atlanta City Hall, the Georgia Legislature and the corruption trials of Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards.