Stage 3 watering rules go into effect for SAWS customers

Customers who violate watering rules will be charged on their bill rather than issued a citation

Generic photo of a sprinkler. (Pixabay)

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Water System customers are now under newly established Stage 3 watering rules, the utility announced Tuesday.

The new watering rules were approved last week by the San Antonio City Council.

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SAWS customers had been in Stage 2 watering rules for two years amid the city being in drought restrictions for the majority of the past five years.

Under the new Stage 3 watering rules, irrigation system hours of use remain the same (5-10 a.m. and 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. on your designated watering day), but a high-use surcharge will apply to residential customers using 20,000 gallons or more during a billing cycle after July 6.

Records of past citywide water use indicate that the surcharge would only affect the top 5% of water users, SAWS said in a news release. Commercial customers are also subject to a surcharge based on their irrigation usage.

“These changes encourage customers with very high outdoor use to reconsider their watering patterns in Stage Three. In addition, going to a new administrative enforcement process with one-time charges on SAWS bills for violations rather than criminal citations creates a more efficient and fair process for all SAWS customers, regardless of where they live in the metro area,” said Karen Guz, SAWS Vice President of Conservation. “It’s also important to know that this new system allows customers to continue to water once a week in Stage 3, pushing off the more severe twice-a-month watering rules to an emergency only Stage 4.”

Watering days are still determined by the last digit of the customer’s address. Watering with a hand-held hose is still allowed any time on any day.

  • 0 or 1 – Monday
  • 2 or 3 – Tuesday
  • 4 or 5 – Wednesday
  • 6 or 7 – Thursday
  • 8 or 9 – Friday

About the Authors

David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.

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