San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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June 12th, 2008
Drought triggers stage 1 water use restrictions in San Marcos

From the city of San Marcos

For the first time in two years, San Marcos will enter stage 1 of its Drought Response Plan as the lack of rain and hot summer temperatures continue to drop Edwards Aquifer levels in the region. Stage 1 limits outdoor watering with sprinklers to once a week on designated days, along with other water restrictions.

Tom Taggart, the city’s water and wastewater utilities director, ordered stage 1 outdoor watering restrictions to take effect on Monday, Jun 16, following the publication of official notice in the San Marcos Daily Record on Sunday. San Marcos last imposed mandatory water restrictions in June 2006.

High temperatures and the lack of rain dropped the Edwards Aquifer to 661.8 feet above mean sea level on June 12 with daily declines in excess of one foot. The San Marcos ordinance allows the Stage 1 rules to be ordered when the aquifer falls below 650 feet or when conditions warrant such emergency declarations.

The restrictions are necessary to comply with EAA emergency rules and State law. Changes to State law in the 2007 legislative session increased the EAA permit cap but also raised the stage 1 trigger level at the monitoring well from 650 feet MSL to 660 feet MSL calculated on the 10 day average to protect the aquifer and springs.

“The lack of rain and heavy aquifer usage has dropped aquifer levels to the point that makes it necessary to trigger stage 1 of the city’s watering restrictions,” Taggart said. “We encourage our residents to do all they can to use water wisely and conserve wherever possible.”

Last week the Edwards Aquifer Authority and area municipal leaders cautioned the Edwards region’s 1.7 million residents that drought conditions were worsening and mandatory cutbacks were near.

Stage 1 rules require:

  • Waste of water is prohibited.
  • Irrigation with sprinklers in allowed only one day per week on the designated week day before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. Designated week days are determined by street number as follows:

Addresses ending in
Designated day is

0 or 1
Monday

2 or 3
Tuesday

4 or 5
Wednesday

6 or 7
Thursday

8 or 9
Friday

  • Non-commercial (at-home) car washing is allowed only on the designated week day.
  • Outdoor swimming pools must be at least partially covered (25% of water surface area) when not in use.
  • Filling of new decorative water features such as fountains and ponds is prohibited.
  • Washing of impervious surfaces is prohibited unless required for health and safety.
  • Restaurants may serve water only upon customer request.

Irrigation with hand-held bucket, hand-held hose, soaker hose or drip irrigation is allowed on any day and at any time. Customers are encouraged to reduce all other non-essential water uses.

Violation of the mandatory rules can result in fines of $100-$250. Full text of the rules is available on the city of San Marcos’ Web site. If residents have questions, please contact Jan Klein, Water Conservation Coordinator, at (512) 393-8010.

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