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Little Elm hosts water conservation expo
The Town of Little Elm will be hosting its first Water is Life Expo event Saturday, April 7, at Town Hall, 100 West Eldorado Parkway. The expo will focus on educating residents from local communities about water conservation and planting the right plants for the area.
The expo will begin at 9:30 a.m. with "Irrigation for Conservation." "Texas Tough Plants" will be presented at 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m., "Rainwater Harvesting" will begin.
Guest speaker Dotty Woodson, of Texas AgriLife Extension and Resource Center, will speak on two topics: "Irrigation for Conservation" and "Rainwater Harvesting."
Woodson appears on a segment on NBC Channel 5 Sunday Morning News, has won two national awards for her water program in Tarrant County and gives presentations at international, national, state and regional conferences.
She will highlight how irrigating lawns properly through drip irrigation conserves water without wasting it while the lawn still receives proper watering. In "Rainwater Harvesting," she will teach residents how they can harvest rainwater in their own lawns.
"Rainwater is a lot better because it's not treated with any chemicals," said Rachel Marshall, Public Works administrative assistant.
There will also be a hands-on demonstration showing residents how to change out sprinkler heads from spray to drip irrigation bubblers.
Janet Laminack, county extensions agent for Texas AgriLife and Horticulture, will give a presentation on "Texas Tough Plants." She will speak about types of plants native to Texas that can withstand high heat and drought-like conditions and still be able to thrive.
The water conservation expo will also give residents an update on the future of water restrictions this year. The North Texas Water Municipal District is considering scaling back Stage 3 Enhanced restrictions, which communities have been under since last year, to standard Stage 3 restrictions.
"I think it's been a learning experience for everybody," Kevin Mattingly, Public Works director, said. "I think it helped us understand the necessity and severity of having plentiful water."
Enhanced restrictions limit watering to twice a month, but standard Stage 3 restrictions will return watering to once a week on trash day. The scaling back comes after recent rainstorms that have helped fill the lakes. Since December, 20 inches of rain has been dumped into Lake Lavon and 22 inches into Lake Jim Chapman.
NTWMD retrieves water from lakes Jim Chapman, Tawakoni, Texoma and Bonham as well as various wetlands. Due to a zebra mussel infestation in Lake Lavon, the utility is unable to pump water from the lake, dropping their supply by 28 percent. Still, Lake Lavon is at full capacity and one foot above the conservation pool.
"Even through times when water is plentiful, that's the time to conserve," Mattingly said. "I think that's what this expo is all about. It's harder to conserve through the drought because that's when plants need the water."