Stage III watering restrictions return April 14 for New Braunfels

First week of no watering will be in effect week of April 14-18

Officials say Stage III watering restrictions have been declared in effect for New Braunfels residents and customers of New Braunfels Utilities.

A lack of significant rainfall in the recharge zones and increasing demand on the Edwards Aquifer due to the spring growing season are among the main reasons that the aquifer has dropped below the 640-foot trigger level for Stage III, according to NBU officials.

Per the New Braunfels Drought Management Ordinance, officials said the first week of no watering will be in effect the week of April 14-18.

"This is historically the heaviest time of use on the aquifer and the significant drops in the level of the aquifer are indicative of the demands that continue to be made on this supply," said NBU Communications Manager Gretchen Reuwer. "With very little rain in the long-term forecast, NBU is facing additional restrictions on all of its water resources. To manage what we have available, non-essential water use will be curtailed further with Stage III watering restrictions."

During Stage III watering restrictions, landscape watering using a sprinkler or irrigation system will only be permitted one day per week, every other week, according to the last digit of the customer's address.

NBU said there will be a two-week time period allotted for customers to make adjustments to their sprinkler systems, and for NBU to get the word out on the change in restrictions.

Details of the drought ordinance and watering schedules can be found on NBU's site.

When water rates were restructured earlier this year, officials said a drought surcharge was added to further encourage the reduction of non-essential water use anytime New Braunfels is in Stage III or Stage IV restrictions.

If Stage III restrictions are in effect after June 1, an additional $1 per 1,000 gallon surcharge for residential usage greater than 15,000 gallons and for irrigation usage greater than 7,500 gallons per month will be implemented, according to NBU.

Officials said that surcharge increases to $2 per 1,000 for residential usage greater than 15,000 gallons, and for irrigation usage greater than 7,500 gallons per month if conditions worsen and Stage IV restrictions are in effect on or after June 1.

NBU said it has to manage its available water supply to meet reductions required by the Edwards Aquifer Authority, the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. With an estimated 40-50 percent of residential water use going toward landscaping, NBU said this is the greatest area of opportunity for water reductions.

"When we are faced with the impact of drought and mandated to reduce our use of available water supplies by the EAA, GBRA and TCEQ, we have to manage accordingly and require curtailment of non-essential use," Reuwer said. "The responsibility of ensuring that water is used in the most efficient and appropriate manner possible falls to each of us as we strive to maintain our springs and balance the needs of people with the environment."

NBU said it offers free audits for residential and business customers who are trying to identify areas where savings can be made in water use, and also offers a number of rebates designed to help reduce water consumption and save money. To learn more, click here or call the NBU Information Line at 830-608-8925.