The Texas summer of 2020 took a turn for the worse this week. The scorching heat forced officials in San Antonio and New Braunfels to issue drought restrictions.
According to the San Antonio Water System, the 10-day average at San Antonio’s monitoring well of the Edwards Aquifer dropped to 659.8, requiring a return to Stage 1 watering rules, effective on July 10.
When in Stage 1, outdoor watering with a sprinkler or irrigation system is allowed only before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m., one day per week, as determined by the last number of your street address.
Addresses ending in 0 and 1 are scheduled for Mondays, 2 and 3 for Tuesdays, 4 and 5 Wednesdays, 6 and 7 Thursdays and addresses ending in 8 or 9 can water Fridays.
Watering days begin and end at midnight; overnight watering is not allowed. However, watering with a handheld hose is allowed any day at any time.
New Braunfels utility officials issued similar restrictions beginning on July 9, also based on the level detected at the Edwards Aquifer.
Lawn sprinklers and irrigation systems can only be used once a week based on street address.
The same address-day watering schedule applies to residents in New Braunfels.
Insufficient rainfall, consistent high temperatures and increased water usage have all contributed to lowering the aquifer level.
Paul Bertetti, director of aquifer science at the Edwards Aquifer Authority, said he expected more hot and dry conditions for the coming days, which include consistently high temperatures at or above 100 degrees.
“I don’t expect that there is any real relief in sight," he said. "The ten day forecast doesn’t really show any significant chance for rainfall in the next couple of weeks. The models seem to agree with that.”
He added that San Antonio is about three inches behind in total rainfall for the year. Little rain fell in June, one of the area’s rainer months.
Water restrictions were not the only consequences of the expected stretch of hot weather.
In San Antonio, the Metropolitan Health District issued a heat advisory. City-run cooling centers will remain open and will observe COVID-19 precautions, including face coverings, screening, sanitation and social distancing guidelines.
In Comal County, the commissioners court implemented a ban on outdoor burning. Under the restrictions, no open flames are allowed outdoors – including trash burning, campfires and torches, among others. Residents may use a barbecue pit with an open flame for cooking purposes only if the grill has a lid and is set off the ground.
Brian Kirkpatrick contributed to this report.
Steve Short can be reached at Steve@tpr.org.
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