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How droughts impact water restriction stages

While Midland and Odessa haven't seen much rain this year, the lakes that the cities pull water from are still in good shape to supply water.

MIDLAND, Texas — In west Texas, we know that it is typically going to be hot and dry. That has especially been the case over the last year or so.

That means that there are questions as to whether Midland or Odessa could have to restrict water consumption in the future.

Odessa currently does not have any water restrictions in place, while Midland is under stage 2 water shortage conditions.

"We do have water restrictions," Carl Craigo, Midland Utilities Director said. "It’s based off of if your house is even or odd and what days you can water, and you have four days a week you can water right now. If we need to end up going into restrictions, we start to reduce those days, but we’re not there yet."

Midland and Odessa get most of their water from the Colorado River Municipal Water District. The CRMWD pulls a lot of that water from three lakes: Lake Ivie, Lake Spence and Lake Thomas.

While we haven't had much rain this year, we did get quite a bit between April 2021 and August 2021. In fact, rain totals for San Angelo, where Lake Ivie is close to, received over 17 inches of rain last year which helped fill those lakes back up.

"Our lakes, again with all that water back in July, our lakes are able to withstand what all of the cities are using for at least about 10 to 12 months from now before the cities really need to start looking for water restrictions," Craigo said.

Any water restrictions that are put in place are based off the levels in those lakes.

"Our stages are based off of CRMWD," Craigo said. "So the lake levels, if the CRMWD hits a point where they feel they have to move their stage up, then we also in combination move our stage up."

If more stringent restrictions are put in place, certain things will be scaled back first.

"Most of the water in most cities is used as irrigation," Craigo said. "We would say about 55% of use. So you start restricting that first before you need to do anything with car washes and businesses because it isn't the businesses, it’s really everybody wanting green grass."