|Trinity Standard - Local News
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'Severe' water shortage declared
Trinity Standard -
TRINITY – Recent dry conditions and warming weather prompted city officials to declare a Stage 3 or "severe" water shortage on Monday. Under the Stage 3 conditions, mandatory water cuts have been imposed and those found in violation are subject to citations and fines. City Manager Buddy Drake said the Stage 3 response went into effect on Monday primarily due to the loss of one of the city's three water wells on Feb. 11. The failure of that well leaves the city 207 gallons per minute (gpm) below the minimum requirements set by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). The city had initiated Stage 1 or voluntary water restrictions on March 11 but Drake said the situation now warranted the Stage 3 mandatory cuts. "The weather has been dry and it's beginning to get warmer. That means water use is climbing and it's only going to get worse," he said. Drake noted the city is now in the process of seeking a $250,000 "urgent need" grant from the state to drill a new well. If approved, he said it would take a minimum of 120 days before the city could begin producing water from the new well. "We really could be in trouble if we have a summer like we had two years ago," he said. The city's two remaining wells currently are producing a combined 500 gpm while the city has access to an additional 354 gpm from the Trinity River Authority's Trinity County Regional Water System. The current production capacity now stands at 854 gpm. Under TCEQ rules, the city is supposed to have a capacity of 0.6 gpm for each of its water connections. Because Trinity has 1,768 connections, the required capacity is 1,061 gpm. The Stage 3 drought response is designed to reduce water usage by 25 percent and imposes major limitations on all outdoor water usage. Under stage 3, all irrigation of landscaped areas such as lawns and gardens is prohibited. Cars, trucks, boats, trailers and other vehicles may only be washed at commercial car wash stations and only between the hours of 6-10 a.m. and 6-10 p.m. The filling or adding of water to swimming pools, wading pools and Jacuzzi-type pools is prohibited. The operation of ornamental fountains or ponds is prohibited except where necessary to support aquatic life or where such fountains or ponds have been equipped with recirculation systems. Also prohibited under Stage 3 is: • The washing down of sidewalks, driveways, parking lots or other hard surfaces. • The use of water to wash buildings or other structures other than for immediate fire protection. • The use of water for dust control. • Flushing gutters or permitting water to run or accumulate in any gutter or street. In addition, citations also may be issued to property owners who fail to repair a controllable water leak within a reasonable time after being given notice to repair the leak. Stage 3 is the highest drought response level the city has ever had to implement under its water ordinances. The highest level, Stage 4, has never been used and imposes water rationing. Those found guilty of violating the Stage 3 restrictions can face fines of from $50 to $200 for each offenses and each day of violation is considered to be a separate offense. Those who have been convicted for three or more violations are also subject to having their water disconnected by the city.