North Texas towns hit critical low point in water supply, 48-hour ban on irrigation in effect


RCH issued a ban on lawn irrigation Thursday after residents surpassed the utility’s water allotment by 600,000 gallons.

MCLENDON-CHISHOLM, Texas — Multiple North Texas towns are under a temporary ban on irrigation as their water supply reached a critical low point.

RCH, the company that supplies water to McClendon-Chisolm, Heath and other North Texas communities, announced a 48-hour freeze on all lawn irrigation due to “a massive surge in water usage” Wednesday night.

According to the utility, yesterday’s water usage peaked at 2.7 million gallons. RCH gets its water from the City of Rockwall. Their maximum allotment is 2.1 million gallons, meaning residents surpassed the allotted water amount by 600,000 gallons.

RCH says their reserves were severely depleted, resulting in critically low water pressure. The utility says any further depletion could force residents into Stage 4 water restrictions–indicating a critical water shortage.

To initiate Stage 4 restrictions, RCH water reservoirs would have to fail to refill above 75% overnight.

Stage 4 restrictions include banning the use of sprinklers, limiting days plants and yards can be watered, banning vehicle washing, banning using water to refill pools and banning the use of fountains. RCH would also suspend the connection of any new or expanded service lines.

RCH says they’ll monitor the levels over the next 24 hours to see if Stage 4 restrictions are necessary. 

If Stage 4 restrictions were to go into effect, the only way to suspend them would be for the reservoirs to refill over 75% for two consecutive days.

One of the primary reasons these shortages have become more common is population growth.

Since 2000, the Rockwall County towns have grown exponentially. McClendon-Chisolm’s population has jumped from 914 in 2000 to 3,656 in 2020, according to US Census data. Some estimates suggest the city’s population has boomed since then to over 5,000.

McClendon-Chisolm isn’t the only Rockwall County town seeing a significantly larger population. Heath’s population has more than doubled since 2000, ballooning from around 4,500 residents to more than 10,000.

This isn’t RCH’s first brush with a water shortage. Since 2022, the water supplier has issued similar bans on lawn irrigation annually. Last August, McClendon-Chisolm floated the idea of taking control of their water supply, but no plans to do so have been announced yet.