© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Aquifer Authority declares Stage 3 water restrictions, but SA and New Braunfels will not see impact

JJ Harrison
Wikimedia Commons

The Edwards Aquifer Authority has declared Stage 3 water restrictions for pumpers from the underground reservoir as the drought worsens. But two major pumpers, the City of San Antonio, and the City of New Braunfels, are sticking with Stage 2 restrictions, leaving customers unaffected.

The San Antonio Water System reports its diverse water supplies such as the Vista Ridge project, stored water at the Aquifer Storage and Recovery site and continued customer compliance with Stage 2 rules will make up for the reduced Edwards pumping requirements that affect pumpers only.

The EAA pumping cutbacks, which were triggered when the 10-day average of the J-17 well reached 640 feet, will not affect SAWS customers at this time since SAWS has demonstrated that it can meet cutbacks without stricter rules, according to a SAWS news release.

“SAWS has worked for 30 years to prepare for these kinds of Edwards cutbacks,” said Robert R. Puente, SAWS President and CEO. “We are well prepared with diversified water resources and reasonable watering rules in place."

“We have been through this before and have not needed to go into Stage 3,” he continued. “We can manage this again together.”

SAWS said the Edwards Aquifer represents only about half of the city's available drinking water because it is just one of the utilities’ nine water sources.

Watering days stay the same in Stage 2 as in Stage 1 – however, the hours during which watering is allowed are shortened. Watering with a sprinkler, irrigation system or soaker hose is allowed only between 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m. on your designated day. Watering with a hand-held hose is still allowed any time on any day, SAWS reported. The number that your home address ends with determines which day you can water your lawn:

0 or 1 – Monday

2 or 3 – Tuesday

4 or 5 – Wednesday

6 or 7 – Thursday

8 or 9 – Friday

SAWS customers can take advantage of SAWS WaterSaver coupons and rebates to spruce up their yards and save money while saving water. Learn more here.

New Braunfels Utilities reports it too has more than enough water to cover the curtailments and has recommended the city not enter Stage 3 water use reduction measures.

"It is NBU's responsibility to inform and make recommendations to the Mayor of New Braunfels when drought conditions warrant entering the next Stage level. At this time, NBU has made a recommendation to the Mayor that we do not enter Stage 3," cited Chief Executive Officer of NBU Ian Taylor. "Since the drought of 2011-2014, NBU has diversified its water resources and nearly doubled the amount of water in our portfolio. Additionally, conservation practices by our customers have reduced the average water consumption per day through conservative watering practices." 

New Braunfels Utilities has typically followed the Drought Stage triggers outlined by the authority, which would require NBU to reduce its draw from the Aquifer by 35% during Stage 3.

New Braunfels Utilities consistently monitors multiple climate and utility operating system factors to understand the severity of the drought we face. Crucial components of the plan include observing and understanding the percentage of the state's drought conditions, the severity of those drought conditions, annual rainfall to date versus average rainfall, and weather forecasts. New Braunfels Utilities must also monitor its system's daily water pumping requirements, the Comal River's spring flow, lake and Aquifer levels, and how long the drought has persisted, according to an NBU news release.

Officials in New Braunfels said that recommendation could change if the drought persists or if any of the important monitoring triggers are negatively impacted.

Stage 2 watering restrictions for landscape watering in New Braunfels are like those in San Antonio.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.