Texas State Park police officer Thomas Bigham walks across the cracked lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas. A bacteria called Chromatiaceae has turned the 1-to-2 acres of lake water remaining the color red. A combination of the long periods of 100 plus degree days and the lack of rain in the drought -stricken region has dried up the lake that once spanned over 5400 acres. Photo: Tony Gutierrez / AP

By Randy McIlwain, NBCDFW.com
22 September 2011

More than 1 million North Texas water customers will be under Stage 3 water restrictions beginning Nov. 1.

The North Texas Municipal Water District's board of trustees unanimously voted to implement a Stage 3 drought plan for its 1.6 million customers.

"This is an ongoing drought, and it is very severe," NTMWD spokeswoman Denise Hickey said.

Under Stage 3 restrictions, customers can only water their lawns once every two weeks. But they can still use drip irrigation and soaker hoses for home foundations and trees. People can only wash cars with a hose with a shutoff nozzle. Pool owners can only replenish water that has evaporated and cannot drain and refill their pools. Fountains must be turned off unless they use recycled water.

"We've hit triple-digit breaking weather," Hickey said. "We've had peak record demands this summer. The drought outlook continues to persist through the fall and into next spring."

A zebra mussel infestation since July 2009 at Lake Texoma has made the situation worse. The lake represents 28 percent of NTMWD's water supply, but pumping water from it runs the risk of contaminating other water sources. […]

Stage 3 Restrictions for Many on the Way

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