As City Ponders Stage 1 Watering Restrictions, Scott Griggs Asks: What's Taking So Long?

DroughtMap_picnik.jpg
Via.
Yesterday, after posting this item that asked when Dallas would finally implement mandatory watering restrictions in the midst of this historic drought, I spoke further with City Manager Mary Suhm, who reiterated: The city may indeed go to mandatory twice-a-week watering sooner than expected. But she won't say exactly when. She says today's briefing on the city's long-range water plans is but the first of three on the subject, an introduction for new council members who may be unfamiliar with such things as the Lake Palestine pipeline and other preparations being made for the future.

"We will begin this process," says Suhm, who says the subject of water will return to council in two weeks. I asked: Will we go to Stage 1 restrictions on November 16? To which she responded: "I've told you as much as I can. Water's a thing Dallas has planned for well, but the way things are going now, there will have to be some changes going forward. Dallas is well positioned, but it's not something where you can sit on your laurels. We have to look into the future."

Suhm says she hasn't spoken to council members about what she intends to do, but does note that "they're concerned," which is why "I'll make some recommendations about [mandatory restrictions] soon."

Speaking of concerned council members, Scott Griggs tells Unfair Park that as far as he's concerned, the city should already be in Stage 1 and headed straight to Stage 2, which would limit watering to once a week.

"The North Texas Municipal Water District went to Stage 3" Monday, he says, "and with water, Dallas isn't alone. We're so interconnected. We have a responsibility to provide others with water. We have to take that into consideration. There's no disputing we're in a record drought, and the sooner we make the difficult decision the better. What was going to be critical was October. Dallas tends to have two rainy months: May and October. And though we did get some rain in October, it wasn't near what we needed. Our reservoirs are now 25 percent depleted, which is a 7 percent change in a very short period of time [since August]."

Griggs will address this subject today, matter of fact, during the Q&A following the afternoon briefing on long-range planning. Far as he's concerned, "you can't talk about one without talking about the other. So I am going to bring it up: Why aren't we in Stage 2? We're still at voluntary, and there's no rain in sight. So far, Dallas has gotten a free pass. We have to talk about Stage 2. Now would be a good time. it'd be perfect to go to Stage 2. Lawns will start to go dormant. So let's pay attention and elevate the awareness."
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TC
TC

Griggs is a fucking expert at everything, isn't he?

shrubstex
shrubstex

As a person who has grown up here and watched the water wars ebb and flow so to speak, there are some points to address.. DWU learned its lesson from the droughts in the 1950's and participated in and helped form myriad reservoirs that were planned to catch our spring rains and hold them for use through out the year. In 2011 we were beneficiaries of some very well timed spring rains. To go into water restrictions now does not make sense. It is Fall. The North Texas Municipal water district did not plan for the growth of Collin County when the cities on the north side of Dallas County at the time built Lake Lavon. DWU does not need to perform any draconian measures but needs to continue to educate and raise awareness to more conservative methods of water use. Thus the rise in xeriscaping and its use primarily as a way to reduce our water bills.  This past summer is a great example of figuring ways to reduce water bills. But changing to xeriscaping takes time and money. I think Mary Suhm realizes that. Cut water use the price of water goes up too. On the subject of grass warfare, also realize that the Park Cities was wise enough to be the beneficiary of Lake Grapevine water and in no way does it have a horse in this race. So when one drives from the fountain at Oak Lawn and Preston north and are mad because there is so much St. Augustine in peoples yards and they should share the water with less fortunate yards, remember its their water and they planned well in the past. Scott Griggs is a great new voice in the city of Dallas, but I disagree on this point. ********As a point of order I will say that I am a landscaper and use lots of native and adapted migrants in my landscape designs. Mulch baby, mulch.

Metroplexual
Metroplexual

And notice in some of these places where the sprinklers are watering the street that the pavement is buckled and cracked.  These property owners should be put on notice and if it continues fined to pay for the pavement repairs.

Reality Check
Reality Check

Hate to burst everyone's bubble, but considering that we live in a semiarid region of the country, we should have mandatory water restrictions every summer, wet May/dry May be damned. Deep watering once a week is more than enough to keep your grass alive.

Ellum08
Ellum08

I think Mr. Griggs is finding out the hard way that City Hall is a little bit different to manuever than he may have thought. It isn't as easy as sticking a couple of potted trees in a street and calling it 'cool', now is it? 

The real work is when you have to actually try to change the rules and/or ingrained thinking about some of these issues. But who wants to do that?

Anon
Anon

I think he's actually being perfectly reasonable about the whole situation. I am pretty sure he went in with the expectation that seemingly common sense requests that went against the status quo would be a source of annoyance (especially to Suhm, our "professional" manager). But that's the whole point. A lot of the dummies on the council have gotten so used to the way you "maneuver" that they don't even bother to point out the problems as they see them (or maybe they just don't see them - that's a different problem entirely). 

I sincerely doubt he's going to back away from this just because he got his sound-bite on the record. He's not your traditional Dallas politician. He's smart, and not in a "let's figure out how to get bidness done" savvy kind of way.

zobzerto
zobzerto

At least he seems to be making an effort. So I don't understand the reason for your disparaging tone...

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Nothing irritates Mary Suhm more than questions from the citizens of Dallas.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

That's all she can say right now?  This is not a national security secret.  I have never met MSuhm but have met some of her staff, who are completely ineffectual and completely bought by the real estate development community.  Not very citizen friendly, no interest in enforcing building codes, in general a pretty useless bunch of civil servants.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

He's absolutely dead-on right.  It's not rocket science.  Mary Suhm needs to wake up.

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

No, she needs to leave. She's made enough messes here and there are most likely more we don't know about.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Don't forget to toss Theresa O'Donnell and the rest of the apparatchiks while you are at it.

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

Theresa like most of the staff are good people. But they only do what the boss says in order to keep food on the table. As the saying goes, all shit runs down hill. You take care of the city manager's position first, and things suddenly begin to change.

Paul
Paul

I would like to know why it is the responsibility of DWU to handle the lack of planning by NTMWD.  The member cities of the NTMWD have been adding customers at a rapid pace without consideration for the available supply in their system. DWU has a long history of planning for Dallas's water needs. We can debate about conservation methods by the citizens of Dallas and certainly we should consider various demand reduction strategies. But the fact remains that the member cities of NTMWD have not expanded their supply and surface storage to meet their greatly expanded demand over the past twenty years.  This is why the NTMWD is at Stage 3 and DWU is not. I see no reason why DWU water supplies should be dedicated to the NTMWD at the expense of supply security to DWU customers.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Good question and another one to add: Why doesnt the city/co. provide a refund or credit to people who use "alternate methods" for watering (i.e. rain barrels) and using Texas-Friendly xeriscaping or artifical grass on their lawns?  Reason I ask is the #1 reason for water loss in this region is these damned bermuda grass lawns people insist on growing here.

Fletch
Fletch

I agree, but the city has already shown that it is no fan of artificial grass.  Other cities in the area do offer bill credits/rebates for rain barrels and HE washing machines.  And the city needs to take a tough stance against people like Tom Hicks, who could drain a small lake every month with his water "needs" alone.

Mike3647
Mike3647

The grass is going dormant anyway, why are these idiots still watering this much?

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

because they can. Its the North Dallas way.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

why is it taking so long? So a tanker full of water from Fiji can be delivered to Tom Hicks residence before these measures take effect.

Mayor Mike
Mayor Mike

Who needs ice as long as my champagne is chilled??

Texaspainter
Texaspainter

And this is why we elected Scott Griggs to represent District 3. Hands down the smartest guy on the council which is why he is ignored.

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