Watering it down in Willow Park, New Irrigation Rules May 2019
Ahh, the signs of spring – the scent of flowering plants and the hum of a neighboring lawn mower. With the mild temperatures upon us, we’re ready to take care of our little slices of heaven. But before you touch that automatic sprinkler system, don’t forget that in the April 2019 Willow Park City Council meeting, a new “Drought Contingency & Emergency Water Management Plan” (DCP) was adopted that matches our surrounding communities.
In addition, Monday, 29 April, 2019, the City of Willow Park announced a summary of the new watering restrictions: “For residential customers, outdoor watering of lawn and landscaped areas with hose-end sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems will follow this schedule:
Customers with a street address ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6 or 8) may water on Saturdays and Wednesdays;
Customers with a street address ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7 or 9) may water on Sundays and Thursdays;
Non-residential customers, including businesses, parks,
and common areas, can water only on Tuesdays and Fridays
No watering is allowed on Mondays.
Outdoor watering with hose-end sprinklers is prohibited from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the assigned watering days.
Watering by drip irrigation or soaker hose is allowed at any time. Residents and businesses are encouraged to limit such watering to a maximum of two hours per day.”
However, since old Stage 3 watering restrictions, which have been active in Willow Park since last summer, are similar to the new Stage 1 watering restrictions, summarized above, the conversion should be relatively easy for Willow Park residents. A detailed comparison of the old and new DCPs is available at the Willow Park Citizens Group website, www.willowparkcitizens.org/water-mgmt.html
The City announced the new water restrictions process in January 2019, posted a draft of the new DCP on the City website in February, held a public comment period for Willow Park residents, and passed the new Drought Contingency Plan in the April City Council Meeting, during which the City also indicated there were no citizen comments during the public comment period.
Why is the City of Willow Park changing the DCP, including water restrictions? By now, Willow Park residents know their city has secured water for the future of Willow Park. The agreement to partner with Hudson Oaks to buy water from Fort Worth was signed this Spring. (The City of Fort Worth purchases water from the Tarrant Regional Water District.) “That’s going to give us about 3.4 - 3.5 MGD [million gallons per day], which is almost triple the amount that we’re getting right now from our wells,” said Bryan Grimes, Willow Park City administrator.
Until 2022, when Willow Park has access to Fort Worth water, Willow Park is refurbishing existing water wells and building new wells. Per the City, “As of March 2019, the City has a groundwater well system of 24 wells that produce water from both the Paluxy and Trinity aquifers. The capacity of the groundwater system is approximately 1.5 MGD." (Drought Contingency & Emergency Water Management Plan, Draft: February 2019).
The City has been able to get its well water production up to 1.5 million gallons per day without the use of City of Weatherford water, which can offer up to 200,000 gallons per day on an emergency basis. All that current water supply is enough to keep Willow Park refreshed even though a dry summer.
Along with the Fort Worth water supply, Willow Park is required to adopt a Fort Worth-approved Drought Contingency Plan; the Fort Worth Water Authority requires wholesale water customers to adopt a water conservation plan at least as stringent at the Forth Worth water conservation plan.
The new DCP simplifies the five watering stages of the current Willow Park DCP down to three. The Willow Park DCP “will be uniform with other surrounding communities — like Aledo, Hudson Oaks or any other wholesale customer where the city of Fort Worth has adopted some variation of this plan,” Grimes said. “Stage 1 is twice a week watering; Stage 2 is once a week watering; and Stage 3 is what they call a black flag -- emergency use only.”
A comparison of the DCP and water restrictions and links to DCPs for Willow Park neighboring cities are detailed on the WPCG website and summarized below: Willow Park, Hudson Oaks, Aledo, Fort Worth, Weatherford, all are under the “Stage 1” water restrictions summarized as twice-a-week lawn watering with sprinklers or irrigation systems, but prohibited between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“The days of watering your yard seven days a week as much as you want are over. They just are,” Grimes said. “Water is abundant right now, but it may not be in 10 years, and we need to conserve as much as we can… Regardless if you are on a well or you’re on city water, at the end of the day it’s all coming from the same straw.”