ARLINGTON – With lake levels quickly dipping across North Texas, water district officials say restrictions are likely to start next month.
Chad Lorance, spokesman for the Tarrant Regional Water District, says the October and November period was the second driest on record. Lorance says the ground is so dry that moderate rain would soak in without running off into reservoirs.
The district's seven lake system is at 78 percent capacity. Seventy-five percent triggers stage one restrictions.
"We haven't gotten the rainfall," says Mary Gugliuzza of the Fort Worth Water Department. "And because of the warmer temperatures the water district says we're seeing greater water evaporation on the lakes."
Lakes are losing about 1 percent every two weeks. At that rate, restrictions will start in mid January.
"I think it's more when than if we're going to hit stage one right now," says Gugliuzza. "We're only 3 percent away."
Ranchers, farmers and fire fighters are already dealing with the consequences.
"Once the embers get on the ground they can run from yard to yard and fence to fence," said Lt. Kevin Seeton of the Arlington Fire Department. "Huge problem this time of year."
Arlington put three alarms on a house fire Wednesday because it appeared to be spreading to other homes.
The Fort Worth water department is about to print bill inserts warning customers to get ready to limit watering to twice a week.