Drought brings on water restrictions in north Texas

An unusually hot summer, even by North Texas standards, is draining the area's water supplies faster than normal, prompting the likely implementation of stringent water restrictions across much of the region within weeks.

The Tarrant Regional Water District's supply has dropped to about 80 percent of capacity, spokesman Chad Lorance said Wednesday. Under the district's drought plan, when the water supply drops to 75 percent of capacity, communities must enforce the first stage of mandatory restrictions, which call for customers to water landscapes only twice a week.

"We've been falling at a rate of roughly 3 percent each month this summer," Lorance said. "By that measure, we should reach 75 percent and Stage One water restrictions around the 1st of September."

Most cities in Tarrant County buy water from the district, including Fort Worth, Arlington, North Richland Hills, Southlake, Colleyville, Keller and Mansfield.

The long string of triple-digit high temperatures has strained supplies and reduced water levels at area lakes.

Fort Worth, one of the system's primary customers, set an all-time water use record in June of just over 13 billion gallons. The city broke its previous one-day use record Monday, consuming 358.1 million gallons.

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