SAWS has proposed changing its water conservation rules, pending City Council approval later this year, according to Karen Guz, the utility’s conservation director.
“You go through three droughts in four years and you hope you learn a few things,” Guz said.
Now that San Antonio has additional water supplies other than the Edwards Aquifer, Guz said SAWS has re-assessed its drought management rules.
“We want them to be more user-friendly,” Guz said.
Guz said she proposed replacing stage one restrictions with Aquifer Watch, but without the limit of once-a-week watering by address
However, she said the majority of its customers have shown their willingness to water their lawns only once a week.
“We have great compliance. It’s very effective,” Guz said. “What that means for the rest of us, we can do it less often.”
She said Aquifer Watch would become the “education phase” when SAWS would stress year-round conservation efforts and prepare customers for stage two.
Under the proposal, once-a-week watering by address would remain under stage two but the times would be easier to remember, from 6-10 a.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m.
“If you have an automatic irrigation system, we’d like you to look at it when you start running it, to make sure you don’t have a leak,” Guz said.
She said people also would be able to finally wash their vehicles at home, but only on Saturdays as efficiently as possible.
“Use a bucket. Make sure you turn off the water in between,” Guz said.
Among the other proposed changes, indoor and residential fountains would be exempt from restrictions, but Guz said commercial fountains would still be regulated.
Guz said water restrictions will be needed as always, citizens have shown “they care about water and they want to do the right thing.”