Although many North Texas residents have grown weary of May’s dreary, rainy weather, area lakes and reservoirs are nearly full to their brims as area rains brought an end to the long-lasting drought.

For the first time since 2011 the North Texas Municipal Water District, which provides McKinney’s water and water for 47 other cities within parts of 10 counties, terminated its drought restriction stages in May and moved into its normal water conservation plan.

The district’s conservation plan, which outlines the minimum guidelines for its member cities to follow, allows residents to water up to twice per week from March 8 through November 1, except for the hours of
10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Although neighboring cities such as Frisco have chosen to remain under drought restrictions in an effort to conserve water, city spokesperson for the city of McKinney, Anna Clark said the city is adhering to the adopted water management plan and is trusting its residents to be water-savvy.

“The current plan prohibits many things like water waste, using treated water to fill ponds and lakes, and watering during the hot times of the day,” Clark said. “In addition we have a very aggressive public education and outreach program on the effective use of our water supply. Therefore, McKinney chose to remove the restrictions and trust our citizens to use
water wisely.”

NTMWD Executive Director Tom Kula said he is still asked why—if water is in such demand and spring rains are providing more than enough for lawn growth—the district would terminate drought restrictions.

“The state and the district guidelines say when conditions no longer exist to keep the drought stages in place, you should terminate them, so that’s what we’re going to do,” Kula said.

Although these restrictions may have been terminated, Clark said residents regularly express support for water conservation.

“McKinney was the first city in the area to enforce year-round conservation measures in 2007, and residents and the business community view the smart use of water as part of everyday life,” she said.

But as the city maintains its current growth trend—population from 2000-10 grew at a rate of 141 percent, meaning more than 130,000 residents moved into the city during that time—and officials eye unincorporated portions of land awaiting annexation and development, Clark said officials will remain mindful of potential water woes.

“McKinney has been a city of growth for more than a decade, and our city leaders incorporate the use of resources, like water, into strategic planning efforts,” she said. “We also rely on our water supplier, the North Texas Municipal Water District, to support the needs of our city and the region, which is growing and will continue to grow.”

Future water supply plans

The NTMWD is required by the state to have both a short-term plan and a long-term plan ensuring the district has enough water to sustain the area’s rapid growth, Kula said.

The district has 1.6 million customers and is planning for 3.6 million people by 2060, according to NTMWD.

Current district water supplies include Lavon Lake, Lake Texoma, Jim Chapman Lake, Lake Tawakoni and the East Fork Raw Water Supply Project, also known as the wetlands, which runs through Kaufman County.

The district’s short-term initiatives expected to supply enough water through at least 2040 include two major projects—a pump station at the main stem of the Trinity River to double the water flow into the wetlands and the construction of the first reservoir to be built in Texas in more than 30 years, the Lower Bois d’Arc Creek Reservoir in Fannin County.

The NTMWD maintains the new reservoir is much needed for the future water supply, but officials also continue to stress the importance of conservation and reuse, district spokesperson Denise Hickey said.