SAN MARCOS, Texas (AP/KXAN) — Central Texas water users are facing unprecedented pumping restrictions by the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
The authority announced Stage 4 restrictions that mandates users in Bexar and Medina counties, and parts of Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays counties to reduce water use by 40-percent because of low water levels and lingering hot and dry weather. The aquifer dropped to 628.9 feet above sea level Monday. That’s its lowest level in nearly 20 years.
The aquifer services municipal utilities, agriculture and industrial customers in seven counties. Cities are considering purchasing water from other providers and tightening conservation requirements.
San Marcos city officials said Stage 4 restrictions will be implemented on Sunday at noon. These are the stiffest water rules the city has faced and mean enforcement teams will be increasing their patrols.
Enforcement teams had issued 159 notices of violation and 24 second notices by the end of July, but had not levied any fines. Punishment for violating the restrictions ranges between $120 per day and $1,000 per day, for repeat offenders. San Marcos gets 93 percent of its water from Canyon Lake, but restrictions sill apply to all residents despite the city drawing just a small portion of water from the aquifer.
Under Stage 4, use of sprinklers will be limited to one day every other week on a designated weekday between 6-10 a.m. or 8 p.m.-midnight.
Designated sprinkler weeks are as follows:
- No sprinklers on Saturdays and Sundays.
- August 18 -22 – No sprinklers.
- August 25 – 29 – Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.
- September 1 – 5 – No sprinklers.
- September 8 – 12 – Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.
Designated weekday by last number of address:
- 0 or 1 – Monday
- 2 or 3 – Tuesday
- 4 or 5 – Wednesday
- 6 or 7 – Thursday
- 8 or 9 – Friday
Soaker hose and drip irrigation are allowed one day per week on the designated weekday before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Hand watering is allowed on any day before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.
Stage 4 rules prohibit water waste, washing impervious surfaces, filling swimming pools, and using decorative water features. Foundation watering is allowed one day per week on the designated weekday before 10 am or after 8 pm, and only by soaker hose or hand-held hose.