SAN ANTONIO – After an extended period of drought conditions, the level of the Edwards Aquifer is nearing the trigger for Stage 2 restrictions for SAWS customers.
Unless a heavy rainfall reverses the current trends for the aquifer (measured at the J-17 well), Stage 2 restrictions are forecast to continue through much of the summer, according to SAWS.
Stage 1 restrictions have been in place for some time now, after a dry second half of 2020 and below-average rainfall in 2021. It is also pumping season for farmers in the area. While SAWS does have various water sources, the Edwards Aquifer is still relied upon.
Here’s what you need to know:
- Per city ordinance, Stage 1 and Stage 2 are initiated with “hard triggers”, meaning once the Edwards Aquifer 10-day rolling average falls below 660 feet and 650 feet, respectively, then restrictions are activated. A declaration by the City Manager is needed. Stage 3 restrictions are put in place through a “soft trigger”. That means there would be discretion on whether or not to activate stricter rules. SAWS does not anticipate Stage 3 restrictions, even if the Edwards Aquifer falls below 640 feet. Coming out of any of the stages is a judgment call to prevent jumping in and out of restrictions.
- During Stage 1 restrictions you can irrigate before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m. on your designated day. For Stage 2, those times are reduced to 7-11 a.m. or 7-11 p.m. on your designated day. Your day is determined by the last number in your street address. Hand-held watering is allowed any time, any day.
- SAWS is asking that you reduce water waste, especially in the wake of this year’s winter storm. Broken sprinklers or busted pipes damaged in the freeze can lead to excessive runoff. You are allowed to wash your car at home, but only on Saturdays and Sundays. Carwash businesses are allowed to operate full time. Keep in mind that some locations have received variances, including sports fields in order to keep conditions safe for those using those facilities.
- If you believe that someone is violating the rules, you can report water waste. If you see it happen repeatedly, SAWS is asking that you continue to report the issue. SAWS says most correct the issue immediately, but if compliance is ignored, eventually a citation can be issued.
Meantime, KSAT did ask SAWS about the drop in the Edwards Aquifer during the winter storm. SAWS Director of Conservation, Karen Guz, said busted pipes, along with dripping faucets led to a large demand for water. During the time of the freeze, SAWS was relying heavily on the Edwards Aquifer, causing levels to drop significantly. However, Guz said the drop was temporary and is not contributing to the current situation.