San Antonio Water System, also known as SAWS, is warning customers that tougher water restrictions -- Stage 3 and Stage 4 -- appear to be just around the corner.
Stage 3, which could go into effect as soon as late April, would limit outdoor watering with a lawn sprinkler or automatic sprinkler system to once every other week, among other things.
Currently, SAWS customers are permitted to water on designated days once a week during the hours of 7 a.m.- 11.am., and 7 p.m.-11 p.m.
Hand watering is allowed any time.
"Really in San Antonio, we've never seen a Stage 3 or Stage 4 prospect,” said Anne Hayden, SAW Communications Manager. "We're actually in the third year of a drought, which is only comparable to something that happened in the '80s and back in the '50s."
Faced with such conditions, she said, customers need to plan ahead, and take some steps now to get used to using less water.
“Be reasonable on what you're planning on planting,” Hayden said. “Don't put a lot of turf grass out there that's going to require a lot of watering.”
That’s exactly the advice that Glenn Gawlik has been giving his customers lately at Schulz Nursery on Broadway.
"I try to make it a point to point out the good plants to use in our climate," Gawlik said. "It's become even more important to try to go to native plants, drought tolerant plants, and mulching is extremely important to help retain the moisture in the soil and keep the plants from drying out."
It’s an uphill battle, he said, for some customers who have their minds set on more tropical plants that are heavily water-dependent.
But tough times call for tough measures.
Hayden said careful thought is also necessary.
"To make sure that we have plenty of water for later on in the year, it's important now to start shaving off what we use,” she said.