City Enters Stage I of Drought Plan
At a news conference at City Hall today, City Manager Terry Brechtel announced that San Antonio is entering Stage I of the Aquifer Management Plan (drought plan), effective June 27, 2002.
“Although San Antonians have been very responsible in conserving water, the current extreme weather conditions require that we take additional measures,” said Brechtel. “As of June 21 the city has only received .06” of rain for the month of June. When compared to a 30-year average of 4” of rainfall, you can get a good idea of why the aquifer has dropped to 649.7’.”
Stage I of the City’s drought plan is triggered when the level of the Edwards reaches 650’ (feet above sea level) as measured at the J-17 monitoring well at Fort Sam Houston. As of Wednesday morning, the aquifer level dropped 0.6’ from yesterday to a reading of 649.7’ and the decline is expected to continue.
The major restriction in Stage I is the once a week sprinkler watering schedule, which helps distribute demand throughout the week. Watering times for each day are midnight to 10 a.m. or 8 p.m. to midnight.
The schedule will go according to the last number of the address and is as follows:
Residential addresses ending in:
- 0 or 1 –Monday
- 2 or 3 – Tuesday
- 4 or 5 – Wednesday
- 6 or 7 – Thursday
- 8 or 9 - Friday
Although this year’s dry weather has caused a significant drop in the aquifer, if we continue to use water wisely we may be able to delay or even prevent entering Stage II restrictions,” said SAWS Conservation Manager Calvin Finch.
According to the city’s Aquifer Management Plan ordinance, the city will remain in Stage I water restrictions for thirty days. If the Edwards level continues to drop, the city may enter Stage II water restrictions. If the level raises and stays above 650’ for the thirty days, then the City Manager can announce an end to water restrictions.
In 2000, dry weather caused the city to enter Stage I on May 1. Continued severe heat moved the city to Stage II on July 27. Stage III loomed as a strong possibility until autumn rains reversed the dropping aquifer levels, allowing the city to leave water restrictions on November 13, 2000.
“I think what we need to learn from 2000’s drought is that summer water restrictions aren't usually a short-term fix,” said SAWS Calvin Finch. “We all have to be prepared to watch water use during this season in the hopes of delaying additional restrictions.”
Stage II restrictions are triggered when the Edwards drops to 640’. The most obvious difference between Stage I and Stage II is the reduction of time available for watering:
- Watering with an irrigation system or sprinkler is permitted only once a week on the designated watering day during the hours of 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Watering with a hand-held hose or drip irrigation permitted during the hours of 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 8p.m. to 10 p.m. any day.
Finch also outlines some simple conservation ideas consumers can use to keep their water use to a minimum.
- Reduce lawn watering by any means available:
- Turn off automatic sprinkler system.
- If you must water, use the footprint” test to gauge lawn watering needs and manually turn on sprinkler system. Don’t forget to manually turn off the system, too.
- Hand water landscape plants.
- Use certified water conserving commercial car washes that recycle their water.
- If you haven’t replaced high water use indoor fixtures, do so now.
- Take advantage of the $75 rebate for low flow toilets.
- Save water inside the home too:
- Use the dishwater and washing machine only with full loads.
- Fix all leaks-dripping faucets, running toilets, etc.
- Take shorter showers.
- Report leaks and water waste to Water Hotline, 704-SAWS
- Call SAWS to schedule a free water waste audit at 704-735
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