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February 14th, 2012
San Marcos lifts Stage 1 watering restrictions


For the first time in 10 months, San Marcos and the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer will move out of the Stage 1 critical management period. However, the city manager’s office has warned that without additional rainfall, pumping and watering restrictions could return soon.

City of San Marcos Public Services Director Tom Taggart announced Monday that the city is lifting Stage 1 watering restrictions following action by the Edwards Aquifer Authority to declare the region out of the Stage 1 critical period. The management rules are based on aquifer levels as measured in the San Antonio index well.

”The efforts of our citizens to conserve water were very visibly reflected in our pumpage amounts throughout the summer,” Taggart said. “They did a great job of lowering the peaks and pumping curve.”

With Stage 1 lifted, San Marcos residents will return to year-round watering rules, which still limit outdoor watering for the community.

Year-round rules prohibit wasting water or outdoor watering with sprinklers between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. However, residents many water on any day before or after those restricted hours. Watering with hand-held buckets, hand-held hose or drip irrigation is allowed any time year round. Year round, charity car washes are prohibited unless they are administered by certified car wash businesses. Positive shut-off valves on hoses are required year round. Year round rules allow the normal use of swimming pools, though the city recommends covering pools when they are not being used. Year round rules prohibit non-recirculating decorative water features. The rules allow washing paved (impervious) surfaces if required for health and safety purposes.

The aquifer authority lifted Stage 1 regional restrictions after the index well in San Antonio recorded a 10-day average aquifer reading above 660-feet above mean seal level on Friday, Feb. 10 for the first time since April 2011.

The drought has brought the city’s drought response rules to the attention of the city council twice in recent months. Amendments to the rules will be considered in the coming weeks.

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10 thoughts on “San Marcos lifts Stage 1 watering restrictions

  1. Terrible idea! Maybe it’s time to reevaluate our restriction triggers if we are imposing NO restrictions during a STILL severe drought. Disappointed in the city. You lift the restrictions because of a little rain and that gives the wrong impression to residents regarding our water issues. Plus, who cares what the aquifer levels are at? We should be paying attention to Canyon lake. Bad planning!

  2. We DO still have restrictions. There are psuedeo-permanent “year round” restrictions that we are still under and will remain under. It says so right there in the article.

    Plus, it’s not like our city planners made this decision in a vacuum. They’re just following the lead of the Aquifer Authority and others “in the know”. It kinda said that right in the article too.

  3. Yes, I saw that. Still not a wise idea.
    I say city planning because ultimately it is their decision.
    But my question is, why are we doing this based on aquifer levels and what the EAA says? Shouldn’t we be paying closer attention to Canyon Lake…? Which is still way below normal? Shouldn’t we also take into account the climate forecast?

  4. This decision seems to DIRECTLY violate the criteria set forth by citizens. My understanding from watching last city council meeting is that preservation of the river/being stewards of our environment are one of the top 5 priorities. That was on the snazzy powerpoint at the end of the meeting. The elected officials should be PROACTIVE.

    LM Coppoletta 512 644 6264

  5. i agree lisa,
    lots of “window dressing” at the city. lots on our plate: lake levels and aquifer are so low for this time of the year and pumping has not even really started…the trigger point are not adjusted for the time of the year it seems. lets hope we have a few good rain years so the powers that be can implement good measures. 2011 could just be one year in a 10-30 year drought we hear from the people in the know.

  6. Adjusting the triggers depending on the month might not be a bad idea, if it is not being done. It shouldn’t be difficult to model how the lakes and aquifer recharge in a “typical” year, figure out if we are ahead or behind, and adjust accordingly.

    No doubt, that would take an effort extending far beyond San Marcos, to have any meaningful impact.

  7. This time last year the lake elevation was 8+ feet HIGHER. If we face a drought similar or worse, we are starting out WAY behind the game.

    Not only that, but the amount in the lake right now is STILL less than what was in there in at the end of September 2011 after the intense heat/drought of summer (900 ft in Sept vs the 899ft currently). And weren’t we in Stage 3 drought restrictions?

    So, if we get 75% of our water from Canyon Lake, how does it make sense to lift restrictions right now? BEFORE all the serious agriculture uses begin? This makes no sense, right? Or an I unaware that suddenly the majority of our water comes from pumping?

  8. I try stay away from the discussion …
    Who exactly that case “violate the criteria set forth by citizens?” Those comments sometimes don’t make any sense. First was commented that was “unconstitutional” mixed with religion believes and now “violate the criteria.” What exactly one is trying to achieve with those “comments”?

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