The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

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July 6, 2013

Local drought getting worse

GREENVILLE — Water use restrictions remain in place in several North Texas cities, including some in Hunt County.

Officials in Royse City have begun issuing citations for alleged violations of the restrictions.

Hunt County remains under “moderate” drought conditions, even as the numbers measuring the drought continue to rise, with little chance of rain in the near future.

Data for the United States Drought Monitor report indicated that all but the northeast corner of Hunt County remained under a moderate drought, with the corner still listed under “abnormally dry” conditions.

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) provides water to more than 1.6 million North Texas residents, including those served by the Caddo Basin Special Utility District and the Cash Special Utility District in Hunt County. The NTMWD has implemented State 3 outdoor watering restrictions, which means residential and business customers served by the district are limited to landscape watering with sprinkler or irrigation systems once every seven days. Other restrictions apply, depending on the city.

Royse City is one of the cities affected by the restrictions, as it is supplied by the NTMWD.

According to a story in this week’s Royse City Herald-Banner, City Manager Carl Alsabrook and Police Chief Jeff Stapleton reported that warnings and citations are being issued to residents who are violating the restrictions. The first ticket could be dismissed if the violator attends a North Texas Municipal Water District water education program. Dismissal is not automatic. The city determines whether a citation is recommended for dismissal. Subsequent tickets won’t be dismissed, according to Alsabrook.

The City of Greenville is currently not under water use restrictions.

No significant rainfall has been officially recorded in Greenville since June 16, and only 20 percent chance of rain is in Monday’s forecast by the National Weather Service.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index measures soil moisture. A reading of 800 is the highest on the scale, meaning that it would take eight or more inches of rainfall to bring the soil to saturation.

Friday afternoon, the county’s readings under the index ranged from 333 to 531, with an average across the county of 443.

There is no current burn ban in place in Hunt County, although are restrictions to outdoor burning. The burning of household trash is only permissible during daylight hours and the wind speed cannot be greater than 23 mph. Natural materials, such as brush and limbs can be burned, but not treated or painted lumber. No prohibited material — including but not limited to rubber, plastics, wire, insulation and furniture — can be burned, and a responsible person must be present during active burning.

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