Proactive planning has helped our community weather many serious droughts, and the current one is no exception. Thanks to diverse water supplies, long-term conservation and reasonable landscape watering rules, San Antonio has not needed more severe drought restrictions. But to be effective, all SAWS customers need to follow the rules.
Under Stage 2, landscape watering with a sprinkler, irrigation system or soaker hose is allowed only from 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m., one day a week, based on the last number of your street address. You can still hand-water with a hose-end nozzle any time.
More than 6,000 water waste citations have been issued to home and business owners so far in 2023, and patrols are ongoing, including inside gated communities and outside city limits.
While 9 out of 10 customers do follow the rules, the ones who don’t are driving up water demand. This has prompted SAWS leaders to consider updating the rules and the way they are enforced.
“We want the watering rules to be more fair, effective and efficient,” said SAWS Conservation Vice President Karen Guz. “We think it’s important to shift away from a criminal process to one that can apply to all SAWS customers equally, regardless of where they live.”
Currently, homes and businesses in separately incorporated cities cannot get a water waste citation.
“It’s also important that enforcement consequences are meaningful, even for large commercial properties,” Guz said, noting that high volume users and repeat offenders could see higher fees.
SAWS staff has begun meeting with city leaders and will gather public input over the next several months. The SAWS Board would ultimately need to vote on any proposed changes, followed by City Council consideration.
For now, “wrangle your water use” by following once-a-week Stage 2 watering rules. Details at saws.org/wrangle.