For The Answer
Submitted by Calvin Finch, Ph.D., Manager, Conservation Division, Water Resources & Conservation Department, SAWS, and Horticulturist
DROUGHT RESTRICTION TIME
It is close to drought restriction time. The aquifer level as measured at the J-17 Test Well is moving down towards 650 ft. When the aquifer level reaches 650 ft., Stage 1 drought restrictions are declared by the City Manager. Edwards Aquifer pumpers must reduce pumping by 5 percent in Stage 1 in order to protect the aquifer endangered species and downstream interests. The main provision in Stage 1 is that sprinkler irrigation is limited to one day per week based on the last digit of your address. It is as follows:
0, 1 Monday
2, 3 Tuesday
4, 5 Wednesday
6, 7 Thursday
8, 9 Friday
No sprinkling on the weekend
Restrictions on the time of day continue as they were before the restrictions were declared. If you must irrigate with a sprinkler, do so between midnight and 10 a.m. in the morning or 8 p.m. and midnight in the evening (no sprinkling between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.).
Water waste is not allowed at any time. Water waste is usually defined as water running down the street.
In Stage 1 City of San Antonio residents and businesses must also desist from washing concrete or other impervious surfaces. Home car washing needs to be done during the designated irrigation hours on your watering day and should be done on the lawn. Swimming pools should be 25 percent covered to reduce evaporation and fountain flow must be ended for the period of restrictions.
Drip irrigation, hand watering, and bucket watering is allowed any day. If you are putting in a new lawn you may call 704-7354 to request a variance to water on days other than the day designated for the address.
Violation of the restrictions is punishable by a fine of $50 to 100 for a first time offense, $250 to 500 for the second offense, and $1000 to 2000 for the third offense. Complaints of water waste may be reported to 704-SAWS (704-7297) 24-hours/day/7 days a week. During weekends and after hours select the emergency option on the menu to report water waste. The Emergency Services operators take the information on your complaint. The complaint is passed on to Customer Service representatives who visit the site of the infraction within the next two days. In all but the most severe cases the water waste site does not receive an immediate visit. The first visit is an educational visit. Most homeowners and businesses respond to the educational visit and address the alleged violation.
For those who do not comply after two or more complaints, they will be placed on the water waster list. The addresses on the list receive the attention of the SAWS Conservation Enforcement Officers. They write the misdemeanor tickets for water waste, watering on the wrong day, or watering during non-hours violations.
The water waster ordinance does not require that warnings are issued, but it is SAWS policy to encourage compliance voluntarily. One of the most effective ways to end specific violations is for ones neighbors to remind violators what the rules are.
This cooperative attitude is also consistent with San Antonios success in reducing per capita water consumption by 35 percent since 1984. San Antonians are working together to protect the aquifer by reducing water use while we look for new water sources to meet future needs.
There are lots of ways to save water in addition to limiting water on your lawn to .75-inch or less once per week, fixing leaks as they occur, and changing out your old high-flow toilet (pre 1992) with a free low-flow toilet from SAWS. If you prefer, SAWS will provide a $75 rebate towards your water bill if you purchase your own toilet. Now would be a great time for your neighborhood or other group to sign up for the Community Challenge. Your water use will drop 5 or 10 percent anyway, you may as well sign up to have the savings translate into dollars for a group project. Move quickly, the deadline is July 26 to have everyone signed up in your group. Visit the SAWS website at saws.org to find all the Conservation programs. And wish for rain!