Zebra mussel concern prompts water restrictions

zebra mussels

Credit: John Lane / WFAA

Hundreds of tiny zebra mussels cling tenaciously to a boat's propeller at Lake Texoma.

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by STEVE STOLER

WFAA

Posted on March 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 25 at 5:18 PM

WYLIE - The North Texas Municipal Water District stopped pumping water from Lake Texoma back in August 2009. Since then, zebra mussels have been detected in the headwaters of Lake Lavon. 

The utility gets about a fourth of its water supply from Texoma. North Texas cities are getting the word out that water restrictions are on the way.

When the North Texas Municipal Water District shut down their pipeline two years ago, Lavon was at its normal level from heavy rainfall. Now, the district doesn't want to turn their pumps back on due to the fear of zebra mussels.
 
Brent Adams and Rod Staring fish at Lake Lavon, the major water supply for Collin County. They're also customers of the North Texas Municipal Water District since they live in Rowlett. They both said they are concerned about the spread of zebra mussels. 
 
“My main concern is what it's going to do to the North Texas water equipment here, which in the future could cause the cost of the water bill to go up," Adams said.
 
By keeping the Texoma-to-Lavon pipeline shut down, the water district is losing one fourth of its water supply. So, the district is asking its member cities, which include Plano, McKinney, Allen and Frisco, to voluntarily conserve water. 
 
"It's vital that until that water supply comes back online [and] that we implement a drought plan, emergency response plan so we can extend the current supplies that we have," said Denise Hickey, a Water District spokeswoman.
 
Zebra mussels are abundant in Lake Texoma. They were found downstream of the district's water pipeline in Sister Grove Creek, which flows into Lavon. But, so far, no mussels have been found in the Collin County lake. 
 
The fishermen say they're willing to do their share to help. 
 
“We have to do everything we can to conserve our water," Staring said.
 
With predictions of a dry summer looming, the water level at Lake Lavon could fall even more. Water district officials say that could eventually force mandatory water restrictions. 

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