Dear All,
I am sharing an interesting article from Odessa Online. This is regarding the drought and the Government announcing tough restrictions on water usage. The most interesting are the points at the end.

City adjusts water use for new restrictions
February 26, 2012 5:30 AM
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With the announcement of tougher water restrictions, residents and businesses in Odessa must find ways to curb their water usage – none more so than the City of Odessa.

And while city officials are cracking down on irrigation at its 34 city parks, the Sherwood and Woodson Family Aquatic Centers, Floyd Gwin Pool and the McKinney Park Sprayground are still scheduled to open for the summer.

“With 80,000 people in attendance during a 10-week period during an extremely hot summer last year, there are limited recreational activities for families in Odessa to do,” Parks and Recreation Direction Steve Patton said. “With that type of popularity, we need something for families and kids to do during summer time.”

West Texas experienced its single worst drought last year, with no significant rainfall for almost one year. The Odessa-Midland area only received 5.47 inches of rain in 2011, well below the average 14.22 inches, according to the National Weather Service in Midland.

The drought severely impacted the Colorado River Municipal Water District’s main water sources, with Lake J.B. Thomas 1.28 percent full, E.V. Spence Reservoir 0.46 percent full and O.H. Ivie Reservoir 17.82 percent full currently. Due to low water levels at J.B. Thomas and E.V. Spence, the CRMWD is relying only on O.H. Ivie for surface water.

As a result, the CRMWD announced its decision to reduce its daily water deliveries to Odessa from 22.4 million gallons daily to 16 million gallons daily beginning April 1.

Patton said instead of closing city pools to comply with lower water deliveries, the city will keep the pools open with two water wells to be built at Sherwood, while Woodson and Floyd Gwin will each get one water well to run on. McKinney Sprayground already operates on well water.

Patton said though he has been investigating the possibilities of using well water at the city pools for quite some time, he will not know the amount of water the underground aquifers are capable of producing until contractors begin drilling the wells.

He said contractors speculate the area beneath Sherwood will not have as much water available as the other parks.

The amount of well water available to produce depends upon the formations of clay and sand underground, Lorraine Wheeler, co-owner of Wheeler Drilling Co., said. Depending upon the area, if there are more clay formations underground, less water would be available, Wheeler said.

The three pools require around 256,000 gallons to be filled up and approximately 3 million gallons of water to refill from evaporation loss throughout the summer, Patton said.

Drilling will begin soon, but no specified date has been set yet, Patton said. The project is expected to cost around $35,000, which would have been money used to spend on irrigation, Patton said.

Once the wells are drilled, the city pools will stop running on water provided by the CRMWD.

“We’re trying to protect surface water,” Assistant City Manager Michael Marrero said. “Drilling a well obviously won’t have an impact on that source.”

Patton, Marrero and some city council members agree that the City of Odessa should keep the city pools open to maintain a high standard of living during the summer for residents, especially those without a pool.

Due to the new water restrictions, residents will not be able to apply for permits to build swimming pools. Those with swimming pools can only refill water lost from evaporation; if the pool is empty, owners will be prohibited from filling the pool after April 1.

“We’re not going to let anybody else have a pool for a while. If you don’t have one, the city’s at least going to be offering a place to go for your children,” District 2 Councilman James Goates said.

District 1 Councilman Bill Cleaver and District 5 Councilwoman Sandra Carrasco agreed with Goates.

“The kids look forward to doing that every summer. We’re thinking mostly of the kids in that sense,” Carrasco said of opening the pools.

Even with high attendance rates, money made at the city pools goes toward City of Midland Aquatics, which runs pool operations. COM Aquatics reported a total revenue of $189,200 from all three parks last summer.

The city pools never break even from admission fees, Patton said.

“The cost that we charge for the use of the pools may not entirely cover our cost for us; it’s an overriding issue what we can do for kids when they’re not in school,” Marrero said.

In spite of keeping the pools and sprayground open, the city parks department, until further notice, will end irrigation for the 600 acres of turf at its 34 parks, stop planting new trees and halt its flower program.

Last summer, the City of Odessa ranked as the top water user in July, using 65.33 million gallons of water due to park irrigation. To irrigate turf land at the 34 parks, the Parks Department uses an average of 140 million gallons of water for one inch of water per week during the nine-month growing season, Patton said.

And at City Hall and the Parks Department, small patches of grass have been replaced with artificial turf, costing the Parks Department $8,000, Patton said.

“We’ve got to realize that water is very important,” Cleaver said. “We don’t have enough to take us where we want to go so we have to start somewhere.”

Water Restrictions

New restrictions are voluntary beginning March 1 and mandatory beginning April 1.
Residents and businesses with even addresses will be allowed to water landscape for two hours between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesdays.
Residents and businesses with odd addresses will be allowed to water for two hours between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Thursdays.
Only hand watering can be done with a hose equipped with a positive shutoff nozzle.
Hose-end sprinklers and open-ended hoses are prohibited.
Drip irrigation and soaker hoses are permitted.
Existing swimming pools can only be filled to replace normal water loss due to evaporation.
Permits for new above and below ground swimming pools will be delayed until further notice.
Fountains are prohibited.
Restaurants may only serve a glass of water upon request by the customer.
Vehicle washing is limited to commercial and mobile car washing.
Washing down of sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, streets and gutters is prohibited.
Washing down of buildings is prohibited, unless for fire protection.
All water leaks must be repaired within a reasonable time frame.

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