Some Texans asked to conserve water as heatwave hits the state

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Some Texans asked to conserve water as heatwave hits the state
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Residents of some north Texas counties have been asked to conserve water “immediately” after a treatment plant was unexpectedly shut down.

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD), which services some of Dallas’s northern suburbs, put out the call on Saturday — affecting around two million customers, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The call comes as temperatures in the region are spiking, with forecasts well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) expected for days.

NTMWD emphasizes that water is still safe to use, and that there should still be enough supply for necessary uses.

The issue involves sediment build-up in a tank at one of the treatment plants, which NTMWD says crews are working to fix.

They’ve specifically requested that people reduce outdoor water use in the meantime.

Potentially dangerous heat is currently hitting Texas, as much of the state endures another wave of high temperatures. Much of the Dallas area, including its northern suburbs, are currently under an excessive heat warning from the National Weather Service (NWS).

Those temperatures will persist throughout the week, with an increased risk of wildfire on Wednesday.

Last week, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which controls the state’s power grid, twice asked customers to conserve electricity as power supplies reached near capacity. Electrical demands can increase during heatwaves as more people power on their air conditioners to stay cool.

Heat events like this are expected to become more common as the climate crisis grows and greenhouse gases push global temperatures up.

But heat isn’t the only climate risk in Texas. In their call for conservation, NTMWD noted the ongoing drought in the area — and said that dry conditions, coupled with high levels of outdoor water use have strained the water system.

A similar event occured last month in Odessa, Texas – on the other side of the state – after a water main broke amid 100F heat.

Currently, most of the northern Dallas suburbs are experiencing “moderate” or “severe” drought, per the US government’s drought monitor. In these conditions, wildfire risk increases, and farming and ranching operations face harsher conditions, the agency notes.

As the world reaches 2C of warming above 19th century temperatures, heatwaves and droughts that once occurred every 10 years will now happen about every two years and five years, respectively, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a leading authority on climate science.

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