Despite aquifer drop, SAWS will stay in Stage 2 watering rules — but offenders face citations

First-time offenders could be fined up to $150

FILE - Sprinkler on lawn (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) (Rich Pedroncelli, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SAN ANTONIO – Despite recent news that the Edwards Aquifer has dropped to its lowest level in nearly a decade, San Antonio Water System customers won’t face stricter watering rules — for now.

That’s the news from SAWS on Monday.

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Even though SAWS must comply with Stage 4 EAA pumping restrictions, customers can still follow the current Stage 2 rules. But, offenders can expect citations, SAWS officials said in a news release.

San Antonio has been in Stage 2 water restrictions since April of 2022 so the rules should be familiar. Basically, residents can water once a week based on their assigned day, which is determined by the last number of their home address.

Your assigned watering day is based on the last number of your address (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

SAWS officials said customers can expect increased patrol and ticket citations in areas where portions of the water system show tank levels dropping overnight beyond normal demand. First-time offenders will receive a citation with municipal court fines of up to $150.

More than 3,000 citations have been issued for water waste so far this year.

SAWS officials said the utility is able to meet the cutback requirement from the EAA through conservation and non-Edwards water sources without having to pass them on to customers for now.

“Our current conditions are exactly what we plan for,” said SAWS President/CEO Robert R. Puente. “We have worked for years, investing and diversifying San Antonio’s water resources, building conservation programs, and ensuring that we can recycle wastewater to make the most of every drop. Our system has the flexibility to meet the pumping permit cutbacks without impacting our customers. Our community has been saving water for years. The current dry weather is nothing new to us.”

For an in-depth look at the inner workings of the Edwards Aquifer and how it is regulated, check out this KSAT Explains episode.

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.