- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

WICHITA FALLS, Texas (AP) - Plentiful recent rains have prompted a North Texas city with the tightest water-use restrictions in the state to loosen those restrictions.

Wichita Falls has eased Stage 5 Drought Catastrophe water restrictions to a Stage 3 Drought Emergency for the first time since February 2013. That allows spray outdoor watering from 2 a.m. to 7 a.m. on assigned days, hose and sprinkler watering once weekly, use of a soaker hose and filling of swimming pools.

The city had been under Stage 5 restrictions since May 2014, banning outdoor watering in the city of more than 100,000 residents. The city also began reusing treated wastewater in a state-approved recycling process to bolster drinking supplies.

Wichita Falls relies on reservoirs that have seen levels rise from 22 percent of capacity to 54 percent.

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