As City Ponders Stage 1 Watering Restrictions, Scott Griggs Asks: What's Taking So Long?

Yesterday, after posting this item that asked when Dallas would finally implement mandatory watering restrictions in the midst of this historic drought, I spoke further with City Manager Mary Suhm, who reiterated: The city may indeed go to mandatory twice-a-week watering sooner than expected. But she won't say exactly when. She says today's briefing on the city's long-range water plans is but the first of three on the subject, an introduction for new council members who may be unfamiliar with such things as the Lake Palestine pipeline and other preparations being made for the future.

"We will begin this process," says Suhm, who says the subject of water will return to council in two weeks. I asked: Will we go to Stage 1 restrictions on November 16? To which she responded: "I've told you as much as I can. Water's a thing Dallas has planned for well, but the way things are going now, there will have to be some changes going forward. Dallas is well positioned, but it's not something where you can sit on your laurels. We have to look into the future."

Suhm says she hasn't spoken to council members about what she intends to do, but does note that "they're concerned," which is why "I'll make some recommendations about [mandatory restrictions] soon."

Speaking of concerned council members, Scott Griggs tells Unfair Park that as far as he's concerned, the city should already be in Stage 1 and headed straight to Stage 2, which would limit watering to once a week.

"The North Texas Municipal Water District went to Stage 3" Monday, he says, "and with water, Dallas isn't alone. We're so interconnected. We have a responsibility to provide others with water. We have to take that into consideration. There's no disputing we're in a record drought, and the sooner we make the difficult decision the better. What was going to be critical was October. Dallas tends to have two rainy months: May and October. And though we did get some rain in October, it wasn't near what we needed. Our reservoirs are now 25 percent depleted, which is a 7 percent change in a very short period of time [since August]."

Griggs will address this subject today, matter of fact, during the Q&A following the afternoon briefing on long-range planning. Far as he's concerned, "you can't talk about one without talking about the other. So I am going to bring it up: Why aren't we in Stage 2? We're still at voluntary, and there's no rain in sight. So far, Dallas has gotten a free pass. We have to talk about Stage 2. Now would be a good time. it'd be perfect to go to Stage 2. Lawns will start to go dormant. So let's pay attention and elevate the awareness."

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