By Lindy Keyser

Special to the Press

Water is a finite resource in Prosper. The town’s primary water resource, Lavon Lake, is below 45 percent capacity and rapidly losing ground.

Ultimately, a pesky aquatic hitch-hiker is to blame. "We have an influx of zebra mussels in Texas," said Water Conservation Specialist, Angela Tucker. "They are invasive mussels that grow everywhere. They get a hold of pipes and boats and are very destructive little things."

The mussels made their debut in the great lakes nearly 15 years ago and eventually made their way down to Lake Texoma, resulting in its removal from the water supply in 2009. In an effort to contain the mussels, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers keeps a close watch for presence and colonization on Lavon Lake.

"They’re horrible and we can’t remove them from the water," Tucker said. "Until we can fix that, we just have to work around them."

Cue Prosper’s stage-three water restriction. Under the restriction, residents and business owners are strongly encouraged to water only on the days outlined on the town’s website (www.prospertx.gov) and to refrain from watering between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. While replacing normal water loss is permitted, restrictions prevent Prosper residents from draining and refilling their existing pool.

"The goal is to conserve 10 percent of our water," Tucker said, "but we’re actually almost 15 percent over. We’re hoping that with education, we’ll start to see those numbers decrease."

Prosper is such a rapidly growing city that water conservation only recently became a pressing issue. Tucker says that she is learning new ways to conserve water every day. She takes classes at the Live Green Expo, hosted by the Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center to expand her knowledge to bring back to the community.

"The building is completely energy efficient and shows tricks of the trade," she said. "They show the awesome ways a rain barrel can look in your yard and teach different things to do inside of your house."

These things include turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth and soap up your hands, and participating in such programs as the 40 Gallon Challenge and the Block Leader Program. Block leaders are volunteers who help their neighbors make informed choices about water conservation by distributing conservation information and material resources in their area. Interested homeowners can pledge to take the 40 Gallon Challenge at www.40gallonchallenge.org.

"The 40 Gallon Challenge website tells you how much water you use in your house and then a list of ways to save," Tucker said. "You’d be so surprised by how much water you save by doing those little things that you don’t even think about."

To share the little steps that Prosper residents can take to make a big difference in the water supply, Tucker is hosting a variety of summer classes. The city’s next class is Aug. 5 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. on and will teach the basics and benefits of rainwater harvesting while giving students the opportunity to build their own 55-gallon rain barrel.

"The bottom line is that if we don’t start conserving, we’re going to run out of water," Tucker said. "There is so much education out there, we need to learn to be more resourceful so that our kids have plenty of water in the future."