For The Answer
By Calvin R. Finch, PhD,
SAWS Water Resources Director, and Horticulturist
Week of May 8, 2006
“Drought Restrictions Predicted May 27, 2006”
If the dry weather continues,
the Edwards Aquifer level at the J-17 well is expected to fall to
650 feet MSL on or about May 27, 2006.
At that time, the area will go into Stage I Drought Restrictions. The main Restriction imposed is that everyone
may only water their landscapes with sprinklers one day a week based
on address. The restriction
makes it harder to irrigate your lawn, but it is still easy to have
green, healthy grass. Several years of research to develop the Seasonal
Irrigation Program (SIP) made it clear that most lawns in
You may be asking, “We
are paying a water resource surcharge, will we every have enough water
to eliminate drought restrictions?”
The answer is, “it depends how much we are willing to
pay.” We need new water
just to replace the Edwards water that is being reduced in order to
protect endangered species and to provide a share of water to the
folks (farmers, downstream interests) who rely on the Edwards Aquifer.
We also are seeking new water resources to meet the needs for
The questions becomes, should we seek to have enough water available to meet our water needs in the future, even if we are in drought, or should wesave a bunch of money and use drought restrictions for emergencies? The new water resources are much more expensive than Edwards water (as much 10 – 12 times as much). To have that 30% extra water for lawns when it is droughty is very expensive. Since lawns can survive with watering every two weeks and a 30% reduction overall, to many people it makes sense to always rely on drought restrictions instead of excessive amounts of expensive water.