What is a Drought?
From a water supplier’s perspective, a drought is an extended period of time with little or no rain that can impact the North Texas Municipal Water District’s water resources. With a prolonged drought, normal rainfall totals produce modest flows into streams and rivers, and lake levels can remain low due to dry soil conditions which absorb the rainfall.
Are we currently in a drought?
Due to spring 2015 rains helping our lake levels, our region has moved out of drought stages and into our Water Efficiency Plan. Frisco City Council approved an ordinance to revise its current Water Efficiency Plan with 'Best Management Practices' (BMPs) for the long-term protection of our water supply. Learn more about Frisco's Water Efficiency Plan and BMPs.
What triggers the declaration of a drought?
The City of Frisco receives its water supply from the North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD). According to the NTMWD's Water Resource and Emergency Management Plan, water resource management stages are put into place when one or more of the trigger conditions for that stage is met. These conditions include but are not limited to:
- The storage levels for NTMWD's two primary reservoirs (Lakes Lavon and Jim Chapman) are less than 55 percent
of total conservation pool capacity.
- Water demand is projected to approach the limit of the permitted supply.
- NTMWD has concern that Lake Texoma, the East Fork Water Supply Project, or some other NTMWD source
may be limited in availability within the next six months.
- The water supply system is unable to deliver water due to the failure or damage of major water system
- The Executive Director, with the concurrence of the NTMWD Board of Directors, finds that conditions warrant the
declaration of a drought stage.
How long will droughts last?
It's not possible to accurately predict how long droughts will last. Our last drought cycle lasted approximately six years. Droughts can also intensify due to global weather patterns such as ocean currents generating La Nina conditions over the tropical Pacific Ocean. These weather patterns usually result in a weaker than normal storm track, which results in reduced precipitation. What is being done?
The North Texas Municipal Water District manages its water resources according to its state-approved Water Management Plan. During a drought, the district encourages Member Cities and Customers to implement the necessary steps to use less water. See Frisco's complete Water Use Policies.
What droughts have we dealt with in the past?
Texas has recently emerged from an extended six-year drought, which intensified in 2011. In 2011, Texas experienced its worst "one-year" drought with many parts of the state suffering from extreme drought conditions. During that time, the elevation of Lavon Lake fell 17 feet below normal level and was at 35 percent of its conservation pool capacity.
Drought of Record – the state’s worst drought spanned a seven-year period in the 1950s. Once it ended, 244 Texas counties were declared federal disaster areas. Learn more about the historic drought on the Texas State Library and Archives Commission site.
Why do drought measures vary across different communities?
Drought measures in one community might not be applicable or appropriate for another. Each city’s customer base and water distribution system is uniquely different. Many cities develop their own drought contingency plans to achieve their water savings during times of drought or water emergency shortage.
What Can I Do to Help Outdoors?
In Frisco, the most impactful way to reduce water consumption is through the reduced use of your home's outdoor automatic sprinkler system. Nearly 70 percent of landscape water use goes to waste due to evaporation or runoff caused by overwatering.
The best thing you can do is turn off your sprinkler controller and water only when watering is necessary.
Consider the following ways to use water wisely:
- Sign up for Frisco's WaterWise Newsletter to receive watering recommendations calculated from data collected from Frisco's own weather station.
- Request a Free Sprinkler System Checkup with a licensed irrigation expert on staff.
- Register your approved smart controller with our Smart Controller program.
- Become a WaterWise Block Captain.
What Can I Do to Help Indoors?
Upgrading your indoor fixtures and routinely checking leaks are other positive ways to increase your long-term efficiency and save water – and money – on your monthly water bill. Visit Frisco Public Works to take advantage of the following free items:
- Leak Detection Dye Tablets
- High-Efficiency Shower Heads
- Soil Moisture Meters
- Hose-End Spray Nozzles
Please contact the Water Resources Department. Send us an email or call 972-292-5800.