Longview, TX — On a day when the state drought’s most extreme effects entered portions of Gregg and Upshur counties, the city of Gladewater initiated mandatory water use restrictions and a Texas A&M climatologist classified 2011 as the worst drought in state history.
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality officials released a map Thursday showing that portions of extreme eastern Gregg and Upshur counties have been added to the list of areas experiencing exceptional drought. That’s the highest level on a five-level system arranged by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
All of Marion, Harrison and Panola counties remain in the exceptional category for drought. A new map updated Tuesday and released by the TCEQ on Thursday showed Upshur County areas such as Ore City and Diana, along with northeastern portions of Gregg County near the Omega community have been added.
All other areas of East Texas are experiencing extreme drought — the second-highest level on the system, according to the map.
Gladewater City Manager Sean Pate implemented Phase 2 of the citys’ drought contingency plan Thursday. Landscape irrigation will be limited to two days a week for alternating customers, and washing of any motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, airplane or other vehicle is prohibited except on designated days between midnight and 10 a.m. and between 8 p.m. and midnight.
“However, irrigation of landscaped areas is permitted at anytime if it is by means of a hand-held hose, a faucet-filled bucket or watering can or five gallons or less, or drip irrigation system,” the ordinance showed.
Gladewater’s measure goes so far as to prohibit restaurants from serving water to customers unless the customer requests it.
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