HEATH, Texas — The City of Heath is the latest Rockwall County municipality to beg residents to cut back on water use to avoid potential water disruptions exacerbated by the continuing drought.
Starting next Monday, Heath is asking residents to water only once a week, and between the hours of midnight and 10 a.m. or 6 p.m. and midnight.
The city also asks that residents water on days depending on their address. If your house number ends in 1 or 2, water on Mondays. If your house number ends in a 3 or 4, water on Tuesdays.
The problem in Heath is the same as it is for their neighbors in Forney and McClendon-Chisolm. They can only fill up their water storage tanks so fast. But people desperate to keep their lawns alive have been using up that water at a faster and faster rate.
The result: water companies have to threaten cutting off that water supply just to give storage tanks time to fill back up.
Forney Lake Water Supply is already at Drought Contingency Stage 4. That means that "the use of automatic sprinkler systems or hose end sprinklers is prohibited at all times." Also, that "irrigation of landscaped areas shall be limited to hand-held hoses or drip irrigation" on a schedule based on street addresses ending in odd or even numbers.
Forney LWS gets its water from RCH Water Supply, the same company that supplies the town of McClendon-Chisolm. In late July, RCH temporarily cut off the water supply to McClendon-Chisolm homes to allow the water storage tanks that service the city to fill back up. That was followed by a boil water notice.
"We've got to have that three or four days in a row to make sure it's leveled out and we don't have another episode that we run out again, and then we're right back in the boil water notice," RCH Water Field Technician Dwight Lindop told WFAA on July 20. "So, we need to get everything straightened out for four or five days in order to make sure it doesn't happen again."
At a Tuesday night city council meeting, Heath City Manager Aretha Adams warned residents of that same potential scenario if they can't get homeowners in Heath to cut back on water use.
"As soon as we can we will back off of Stage 3. But what I don't want to happen is for the tanks to run out and for us to go under a boil notice. Because that's a much more difficult problem to come back from than a Stage 3 problem," she said, of Heath's current water restrictions.
"It's just bad. We all know where it can lead," said Heath resident Terri Castleberry, who lives just 100 yards from one of Heath's three water storage towers and tanks. "There's really not a lot you can do but just pray for rain you know."