San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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June 20th, 2011
Stage 3 water restrictions expected this week


San Marcos and the Edwards Aquifer Authority are likely to implement Stage 3 of the critical period management plan during the week of June 20 as the aquifer on which two million people depend continues its rapid decline due to the lack of rain.

In Stage 3, the San Marcos ordinance allows lawn sprinklers and sprinkler systems to be used once every other week on a designated weekday during restricted hours. Hand watering, soaker hoses and drip irrigation are allowed once a week on a designated day during limited hours.

Stage 3 also limits irrigation of golf courses and athletic fields and prohibits non-commercial car washing, filling swimming pools or decorative features, and washing paved surfaces.

On Friday, June 17, the San Antonio index well stood at 640.3 feet above sea level with a 10 day average of 642.2 feet.

The city’s and EAA’s drought response plans call for Stage 3 water use restrictions when the 10 day average aquifer level drops below 640 feet above sea level. A year ago the aquifer was at 676.2 feet and the historic average is 663.2 feet for June 17.

The EAA requires permit holders in the San Antonio aquifer region to reduce pumping by 35 percent in Stage 3. Pumping reductions are aimed at stabilizing aquifer and springflow levels until rain replenishes the aquifer.

San Marcos has had only 4.39 inches of rain since Jan. 1 some 15 inches below historic average rainfall. Since July 1 of 2010, San Marcos has recorded a total of 16.76 inches of rain, over 20 inches below normal.

This will be the first time San Marcos has entered Stage 3 restrictions under the current ordinance, updated in 2009. San Marcos first adopted a water conservation ordinance in 1984 when the aquifer fell to 637 feet above sea level. The lowest recorded level of the Edwards was 612 feet during the drought of the 1950s when Comal Springs in New Braunfels went dry from June-November of 1956.

San Marcos implemented Stage 2 on June 3, 2011 which restricts sprinkler use to once a week during restricted hours on designated days, along with other water use limits. The EAA first declared a Stage 1 critical period on April 19, 2011.

The city of San Marcos receives 75 percent of its water supply from surface water from Canyon Lake and 25 percent from the aquifer.

“With aquifer conditions worsening and no relief in sight, we have to increase our efforts to conserve water and comply with required cutbacks in water use,” Public Services director Tom Taggart. “We do understand the hardship this imposes on our customers and ask their help in relieving the pressure on our water resources both surface and groundwater.  We ask all our residents to share this burden.”

The city’s drought response plan is available on the city of San Marcos website at For more information please contact conservation coordinator Jan Klein at 512-393-8310. To report violations, please call the Water Conservation Hotline at 512-393-8360.

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One thought on “Stage 3 water restrictions expected this week

  1. So, let’s get behind all those realtors and developers who never saw a patch of green they didn’t want to replace with a parking lot. And LCRA wants to sell gabillions of gallons fresh water to a new coal-fired plant located near that inexhaustible source of salt water that could be used instead? And let’s make sure every new home comes with a Bermuda or St. Augustine lawn that needs gobs of water to thrive. We are so smart.

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