A new water conservation ordinance will have San Antonio Water System customers looking at the numbers 7 and 11 in a whole new way.

Instead of bringing to mind images of the 7-11 convenience store chain, the numbers now also represent the hours during which the use of sprinklers and irrigation systems are allowed in the city of San Antonio.

“To remember it, it’s kind of like a casino,” said Anne Hayden, spokeswoman for SAWS. “Seven to 11 in the morning, 7 to 11 at night.”

The new hours are part of a water conservation ordinance hammered out by SAWS and the San Antonio City Council earlier this month.

Hayden said they give residents more flexibility than they had in the past.

"People who had hoses and sprinklers, as opposed to irrigation systems, really had to be out there really early in the morning, before daylight," she said. “(Now) they can go out and put the sprinkler out and it's not pitch dark."

But Hayden said one thing that has not changed is the calendar for this kind of watering.

She said customers still must adhere to using sprinklers only on their designated day, which is determined by the last digit of their street address.

The new rules also allow for the use of home fountains on any day and at any time.

Commercial fountains, though, are permitted only with a basic variance, Hayden said.

Additionally, home car washing is allowed only on weekends, as long as water use is kept to a minimum.

Hand-watering continues to be permitted at any time.

The ordinance applies whenever Stage 2, 3,or 4 water restrictions are in effect.

However, continued drought conditions could bring additional changes.

"If we enter Stage 3 or Stage 4 -- hopefully we won't, but it's a good possibility this summer -- (sprinkler use) would be every other week," Hayden said.

For more information on the watering calendar or the water conservation ordinance, visit SAWS' website.

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