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City will ask for voluntary water conservation during construction


LIVINGSTON — City council members unanimously approved changes to the Drought Contingency Plan Tuesday and anticipate they will have to ask water customers to voluntarily curb outdoor watering as contractors for the Trinity River Authority connect new larger transmission lines to the city system. City Manager Marilyn Sutton presented proposed revisions to the plan to make it more “user friendly” than the existing policy put in place in 2000. Sutton said that plan has only been implemented once, in 2009, and then only at the voluntarily, Stage 1, level. Sutton said specifics of the plan will be posted on the city’s website, inserted into utility bills and published in the Polk County Enterprise. The plan will be put in effect when usage surpasses 1.8 million gallons a day for several days running. TRA can consistently deliver 2.262 million gallons into the city and meet the needs of the Polunsky prison unit and the IAH Secure Adult Detention Facility, according to Sutton. Average winter use is 1.1 million gallons a day, but during the summer usage can increase more then 600,000 gallons a day. City customers used 1.4 million gallons on Monday. On May 17, city officials will meet with contractors to schedule specific times they will tie in the transmission lines at four key connection points. At that time, Sutton said the city will likely ask users to limit outdoor watering to periods of lower demand, between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Customers will be asked to alternate days based on their address for outdoor uses such as landscape watering, washing cars and other nonessential purposes. The storage tanks and water lines in the system hold enough water to meet normal demand for a 24-hour period. Compliance with the plan will ensure residential needs, as well as water for hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers is not affected. The 19,000 feet of pipe being installed holds 300,000 gallons of water and that will also have to be pressure tested, cholorinated and flushed, Sutton said. “That means we will have to flush those lines with about a million gallons of treated water that won’t be coming to us,” Sutton said. Once that construction project is complete, TRA will have the capacity to deliver three million gallons of water into the city. “We have asked TRA to do the preliminary engineering to go to five million gallons at the plants. They are about two months away from finishing the design for that upgrade,” Sutton said. When details of the scheduled construction interruption are finalized, updates will be posted on the Polk County Enterprise’s Facebook page.


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