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Waco water woes continue, city prepares for new stage of restrictions

lake waco drought 2023.png
Posted at 9:48 PM, Feb 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-22 22:56:56-05

WACO, Texas — More water restrictions could be on the way for Waco residents as the drought continues to prove detrimental to Lake Waco's water supply.

Lake Waco is currently just 57% full, which is only enough water for the next two years, according to Tuesday's city council meeting.

The lake hasn't been at full capacity since September 2021 and its water level is nearly eight feet below what it was just a year ago, per state water data. The water level stands at 451 feet, as of Wednesday.

Since July, the city has been in stage two of its drought contingency plan. Businesses and homeowners are only able to water their lawns on two designated days of the week, and during designated hours.

"People really have responded," said Jessica Emmett Sellers, public information specialist for the city. "And I think some of the images that we have of Lake Waco and the way that it looked when it was full and the way it looks now, people look at that and go 'Oh wow, this is real. This is something that I really need to be worried about.'"

Sellers said once the water level reaches 450.3 feet, the city will enter stage three.

Stage three of the drought contingency plan would restrict outdoor watering to one day per week. New permits for swimming pools and hot tubs would be restricted. Golf courses, parks and ballfields would also need to reduce their water consumption.

The city is also exploring long-term solutions, including re-routing water from the area's river system, as well as re-routing wastewater.