San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

Stage 3 rules

· Waste of water is prohibited.

· Irrigation with soaker hose or drip irrigation system is allowed one day a week on the designated weekday before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

· Irrigation with hand-held bucket or hand-held hose is allowed any day before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

· Irrigation of vegetable gardens using a hand-held bucket, hand-held hose, soaker hose or drip irrigation system is allowed any day before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

· At home car washing is prohibited.

· Filling of new and existing swimming pools is prohibited.

· Using indoor or outdoor decorative water features is prohibited.

· Washing impervious surfaces is prohibited.

· Foundation watering using a soaker hose or hand-held hose is one day per week on the designated weekday before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.


San Marcos will activate Stage 3 drought response rules effective at noon on Sunday, Aug. 4 as the Edwards Aquifer continues to decline.

Aquifer levels are measured at the J-17 index well in Bexar County. Stage 3 is triggered when the aquifer drops below 640 feet above mean sea level for the 10 day average. On July 31st, the daily index well reading was 636.6 feet above mean sea level, with a 10-day average of 639.7 feet above mean sea level.

Stage 3 rules in San Marcos restrict watering with sprinklers to once every other week on a designated weekday between the hours of 6 to 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.

Use of sprinklers is allowed as follows:

  • Aug. 5-9 – Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.
  • Aug. 12-16 – No sprinklers.
  • Aug. 19-23  – Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.
  • Aug. 26-30 – No sprinklers.

For information, contact Jan Klein, the city’s conservation coordinator, at 512-393-8310. To report watering violations, call the Water Conservation Hotline at 512-393-8360.

The Edwards Aquifer Authority requires permit holders in the San Antonio pool of the aquifer to reduce pumping by 35 percent in Stage 3. For the past two years, San Marcos and the Edwards region have been under almost continuous drought restrictions.

Daily aquifer readings are posted on websites for the city of San Marcos here and the Edwards Aquifer Authority here. at . The city’s drought response rules are available

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7 thoughts on “San Marcos enters Stage 3 water usage restrictions

  1. I believe wasting water is always prohibited. They just reiterate it at each level.

    That being said, I see people watering the street at stage 1 and stage 2. I expect they’ll be doing the same at stage 3.

  2. I’d like to see the science supporting the restriction of not watering before 8pm. Yes, obviously, if you water in full sun some of that water evaporates but exactly how much? How many people would choose to water between 5pm and 8pm if they were allowed? I find this one of the most irrational and punitive aspects of the restrictions. I also question how much water we save by prohibiting at home car washing. I just don’t think that many people wash their cars at home any more. In the spirit of having fewer rules to enforce and reducing the appearance of us living in a totalitarian state I say we should just strike that one.

  3. I always think it is kabuki theater. I bet the sum total of water saved by San Martians going to Stage 3 is a drop in the bucket (couldn’t resist) compared to what San Antonio pumps out on any given day. The river is as low as I can recall seeing it, and we received a decent amount of rain this summer. We have to reduce what San Antonio pumps. If they lowered a lake level as much as they lower our river level, they’d have to pay for the acre feet. Now the only ones that make money are the Edwards Aquifer Authority rent seeking bureaucrats and whoever was gifted those stupid insider pumping rights ten years ago. The whole system is messed up, and it is someday going to make fights over apartment zoning look like rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.

  4. Restructuring the price of water during drought restrictions would go a long way towards getting folks here, and in SA, to actually conserve. Above a certain level of use, the price should go up steeply; below a certain level, a small discount might be awarded.

    Also, prohibiting water-thirsty lawns in new developments, or HOA requirements for them, would be a huge help.

    That being said, it’s been encouraging to see how many people are making the change to ceriscaping where we live.

  5. I’m with you 100% on that Cori. I think a market based approach is almost always the best way to go. When water becomes scarce the price should go up (for the top tier users). I like this idea because it doesn’t affect me as I barely use any landscaping water.

  6. Look what just passed in the state legislature:

    HOA’S ON NOTICE: As of Sept. 1, Home Owner Associations can no longer prohibit a property owner from: composting; installing rain barrels or a rainwater harvesting system; implementing efficient irrigation systems, including drip systems; or using drought-resistant landscaping or water-conserving turf. Thank you to all of the citizens who worked to pass Senate Bill 198!

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