Water restrictions flow into Dallas Monday, city promises to be tough

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on December 7, 2011 at 8:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 8 at 10:59 AM

DALLAS - The drought isn't letting up in North Texas.

Stage 1 water restrictions in Dallas take effect on Monday, Dec. 12.

The most important thing you need to remember is the watering schedule, which only allows you to water your lawn twice a week.

If the last number of your address is an even number, you can water on Sundays and Thursdays. An odd number, Saturdays and Wednesdays.

Because of good planning since the 1950's drought, Dallas has had plenty of water and avoided mandatory restrictions until now, according to Mayor Mike Rawlings.

"We've got a serious issue," Rawlings said. "I'm confident that the citizens of Dallas will do the right things. I don't vote for ordinances that we don't want to enforce."

With the drought forecast to run into next year, Dallas enters Stage 1 next Monday.

Although sometimes criticized for passing "nanny" laws like red-light cameras or regulating toy guns, the mayor and city council say there is the political will to enforce the coming water restrictions.

Code Compliance Director James Martin is in charge of enforcing the restrictions.

"We will be very aggressive," he said. "We are requesting citizens that identify [violators] to call 311 and we will address the service requests that are reported."

The city says a violator gets a warning the first time. The second violation leads to a fine from $250 to $2,000.

And multiple violations could mean a fine, city installation of a flow restrictor limiting water use or cutting off service.

Some council members, such as Scott Griggs, believed the city should go right to Stage 2, which limits watering to once per week, with the prediction that restrictions may be the new normal.

"It's possible that we're in a record drought period similar to the drought Dallas experienced in the 1950's, so this would become the norm for several years, even restrictions beyond Stage 1 and Stage 2," Griggs said.

The restrictions last for 60 days the first time and 120 days after that.

But look for the city council to extend them over and over again.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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