Cities analyzing drought contingency plans as summer approaches - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Cities analyzing drought contingency plans as summer approaches

Sprinkler waters lawn in residential neighborhood; Source: KFDA Sprinkler waters lawn in residential neighborhood; Source: KFDA
Green lawn in front of house; Source: KFDA Green lawn in front of house; Source: KFDA
Lawn reaches up to edge of sidewalk in residential neighborhood; Source: KFDA Lawn reaches up to edge of sidewalk in residential neighborhood; Source: KFDA
Sprinkler throws water on lawn and sidewalk in Amarillo neighborhood; Source: KFDA Sprinkler throws water on lawn and sidewalk in Amarillo neighborhood; Source: KFDA
CANYON, TX (KFDA) -

With minimal rain since last October, cities around the Panhandle are examining their drought contingency plans as summer approaches.

While some places have not yet made them mandatory, some instituted them last year, and they're still flowing strong.

The City of Amarillo does have a drought contingency plan, but Director of Water Utilities Russell Grubbs says it is currently on standby.

"We are not even in Stage 1 drought contingency," said Grubbs.

Each drought plan contains a list of criteria. Each stage of the plan takes five days of the same conditions before it is escalated to the next level.

"We go into a Stage 1, which is basically more awareness of water usage," said Grubbs. "Once [we've] hit five days, then we [would] go in to Stage 2, which is mandatory watering on even or odd days."

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The city is held to the same restrictions as residents.

As more water is wasted, stages increase. Stage 3, Stage 4 and Stage 5 have never been necessary.

"Once you get in to Stage 5, that means our water supply is imminently going to go out," said Grubbs. "We don't even like to talk about Stage 4 or Stage 5."

City of Canyon Public Utilities Director Dan Reese says they follow the same criteria.

Since the 2011 drought, Canyon has been at Stage 1 as a precaution.

However, they recently jumped to Stage 2.

"We have two things going on," said Reese. "[One:] it looks like we're in the midst of another record drought. Two, we're having some water storage tank issues to the point that one of our tanks is out of service for re-coating and rehabilitation."

Reese ensures Stage 2 is just a precaution. Once the tank is fixed, they should be fine.

He says since the 2011 drought, residents have really stepped up to reduce water usage.

"We really appreciate everyone's cooperation," said Reese. "From what I've seen, so far we have not been knocking on doors yet. That will occur if we find people in violation of the ordinance."

Grubbs expects Amarillo to reach at least Stage 1 this year, but he still hopes to not have to institute the contingency plan.

"We only do that because we have to," said Grubbs. "The reason that we have to is [for] the protection of public safety, and sanitation purposes."

If you would like to check out the contingency plan for the City of Canyon visit their website, and find the Code of Ordinances.

If the City of Amarillo were to run low on their water supply, officials say a back up plan is ready to go.

However, officials do not want to use the back up plan because that would mean more costs for taxpayers.

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