Sprinklers water the soccer fields at North Lakes Park during the summer. For wintertime, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District's top suggestion for winter is to turn off yard sprinklers because the grass is dormant.
With winter approaching, the Upper Trinity Regional Water District is asking Denton County residents to watch their water usage — specifically when it comes to watering lawns — to help keep the lakes filled for next summer.
UTRWD provides water to over 400,000 people across Denton and Collin counties. In conjunction with cities, the district has been promoting water awareness for the upcoming winter months. A Corinth news release from November, for example, stated ongoing drought conditions are putting the district’s main lakes at risk.
“The ongoing drought ... could negatively impact drinking water supplies and water recreation next summer if lake levels continue to drop,” the release states. “We need your help to prevent lakes from dropping significantly more, so please join us in ‘Watering Less Y’all.’”
Much of the information came from the district, according to UTRWD communication manager Jason Pierce. Though most residents likely think of the summer months as the time to conserve water, he said this summer’s major drought has affected the water supply.
Pierce said the district’s three major water-supply lakes — Lewisville Lake, Ray Roberts Lake and Jim Chapman Lake in Delta County — are at about 85%, 94% and 80% full, respectively. Just a few weeks ago, they were lower than that, but November rain has helped push them up to recover from the summer.
“When the first rains started, much of that water, if not all of it, was absorbed into the ground,” Pierce said. “When the soil can’t hold any water, that’s when your lakes begin to fill. The early rains helped to put moisture back in the soil, then as the rains continued, we saw more and more increase. That’s why you’re seeing some of these lakes finally beginning to fill back up.”
Pierce said the winter months haven’t historically been a huge issue for the water supply, but that the district is hoping to keep the lakes in a good spot for next summer. Right now, he said the lakes are slightly below where they were last year, and this winter could be drier than normal.
“If we use water this winter, we won’t have it for the summer when it truly is hot and dry,” Pierce said.
The No. 1 suggestion from the district to residents is to watch how they handle their lawns. Pierce said the best step to take is to simply turn off the sprinklers.
“People don’t need to water their lawns in the winter,” Pierce said. “Grass grows dormant. It doesn’t require any additional water. The best thing residents can do is turn the sprinklers off.”
Pierce says that one step alone will save residents money and save the water, leaving it in the lakes for next summer. He also suggested watermyyard.org, a tool from the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension that lets you know when you should water, and for how long, based on where you live.