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Highland Village Update – July 2016

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Highland Village City Manager Michael Leavitt
Highland Village City Manager Michael Leavitt

Remember the movie Groundhog Day? The characters found themselves stuck in a time loop repeating the same day over and over. While we’re not going to be repeating the same day, it is likely we are repeating the same summer weather and watering pattern as last year.

You’ll remember last spring and into the early summer we had record rain totals and much flooding in the city. Our lawns were lush and green, landscaping was flourishing and flowers were thick and abundant. We never even had to turn on our sprinkler systems. Then the rain stopped and July was hot and dry. We all wanted our lawns and landscape to stay thick and abundant so we cranked up our sprinkler systems. That translated to a much higher utility bill in August than the previous months. We were shocked. How could our bill increase so much? Highland Village wasn’t the only city that experienced this issue; higher utility bills became a state issue covered by major news networks. For Highland Village, and most other cities, we had several months where there was no need to use our sprinkler systems and then we hit the hot dry summer and we ramped up our irrigation systems.

Now the time loop repeat begins. We have not experienced the flooding rains of last year but we have had an abundance of rain. And as I drive through Highland Village I see green landscapes and beautiful flowers. Most of us have not turned on our sprinkler systems or have only used them occasionally. This month we’re hitting the hot and dry weather pattern. The long-range forecasts do not include much rain. We can anticipate using our irrigation systems more through July and August. So prepare yourself – your utility bill in August will likely be significantly higher than your June or July bill. Of course, if you feel there is an anomaly, call us and we’ll investigate.

There are a few tools you can use to keep up with your water usage and help you determine when you should turn on your irrigation system. Our Eye on Water app allows you to view your water usage and set up notifications if you have continual 24-hour water usage. You can sign up for Eye on Water on the city website at highlandvillage.org. We’ve also partnered with the Upper Trinity Regional Water District in the Water My Yard program. This is a regional water conservation program that sends weekly outdoor watering recommendation via email or text messages. Just go to WaterMyYard.org to sign up. And remember, we are currently in Phase 1 of our Water Conservation Plan which means landscape watering should only take place between the hours of 6 p.m. and 10 a.m.

Once again Highland Village has ranked in the top five safest cities in Texas. We credit that to our community-oriented policing model and all of you who work with our police officers to keep Highland Village safe. So, as we move into the summer we need to remember some summer safety tips as well.

Be constantly aware that many of our active citizens (kids, joggers and bike riders) are traveling on, or routinely crossing, our trails and roadways.  Keep your speed under control and be prepared to give them the right-of-way.  In general, be careful and watch your speed; HVPD officers will be particularly vigilant during the summer months in observing and enforcing the city’s speed limits in order to ensure the safety of not only our children but everyone in our city.

Texting and driving is and should always be a concern.  Too many crashes and lives have been taken from this over-abused distraction while driving.  We beg that you install phone apps or other constant reminders to stop texting while driving. There is no text message, no social media post, no photo, no anything that is more important than human life. For many looking at a phone while driving has become a habit and it’s a habit that can and should be broken. If you have to talk on your phone, use hands-free. Most new cars come equipped with Bluetooth and if your car doesn’t have Bluetooth a headset or earpiece works just as well.

Summertime means fun outside, however that fun can be hampered by too much sun. Be sure to use sunscreen of SPF 30, at a minimum and reapply every two hours. Sunburns can be painful and dangerous. The sun can zap the body of its critical nutrients and electrolytes, causing the person to become weak and sick. Be sure to hydrate frequently, even if not thirsty. If a person waits to drink until they are thirsty, they have already lost 10% of their body’s water! That is very dangerous. That can lead to life threatening conditions like heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It is also important to note that children and the elderly need more hydration; because their bodies are more susceptible to fluid loss and they have less to lose. When hydrating, drink water, or other commercial electrolyte replacement or sports drinks, but avoid those with high concentrations of sugar. Also, do not use alcohol or caffeinated drinks to hydrate, because these actually cause fluid depletion.

Lastly, whenever the family goes out, whether at dusk, dawn or in-between, be sure to use an insect repellent that contains DEET. Mosquitoes are always abundant and with the increased water this year, there will be a bumper crop of them. Protect yourself and your family from those painful bites and potentially from acquiring a mosquito-borne illness.

Enjoy the summer in Highland Village!

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