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

With the Edwards Aquifer level dropping steadily, San Marcos ratchets up restrictions on sprinklers, swimming pools and car washing. 

April 15th, 2014
Stage 3 drought water use rules begin Sunday


The city of San Marcos is returning to Stage 3 drought restrictions, limiting outdoor sprinklers to once every other week, effective noon Sunday, April 20.

The Edwards Aquifer Authority declared Stage 3 on April 10 after the 10-day average aquifer level dropped below the Stage 3 trigger of 640 feet above sea level. With the start of the spring irrigation season in the region, the aquifer has been dropping at a rate of a half-foot to a foot per day.

“We have never gone into Stage 3 this early in the year” says Jan Klein, the city’s conservation coordinator. “Predictions are that an El Nino may bring some rain later in the year, but we’ll need to get through another hot, dry summer first.”

San Marcos was in drought restrictions for all of 2013, and has been in Stage 2, allowing sprinklers once time a week, since November 2013. The city was under Stage 3 restrictions from August to November last year.

In San Marcos, Stage 3 drought rules restrict use of sprinklers to once every other week on a designated weekday between 6-10 a.m. or 8 p.m.-midnight.

For the next month, irrigation by sprinklers will be allowed on a schedule set by city ordinance:

April 21 to April 25
Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.
April 28 to May 2
No sprinklers at all.
May 5 to May 9
Sprinklers allowed on designated weekday and times.
May 12 to May 16
No sprinklers at all.

Soaker hose and drip irrigation are allowed one day a week on the designated weekday before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Hand watering is allowed on any day before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m.

Stage 3 rules prohibit water waste, washing impervious surfaces, filling swimming pools, and using decorative water features. Foundation watering is allowed one day per week on the designated weekday before 10 am or after 8 pm, and only by soaker hose or hand-held hose.

Full text of Stage 3 rules can be found on the city’s website.

Stage 3 is implemented when the 10-day average Edwards Aquifer index well level falls below 640 feet above mean sea level (msl). On April 10, the 10-day average aquifer level was at 639.7 feet and the daily reading was 639.0 feet.

The San Marcos springs were flowing at 130.0 cubic feet per second (cfs) for a 10-day average, and Comal springs in New Braunfels at 149 cfs. Daily flows were 127 cfs at the San Marcos springs and 145 cfs at the Comal springs.

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