The 10-day rolling average of the level of the Edwards Aquifer, measured at the J-17 well, has dropped below 660 feet as of Wednesday morning. Utilities that utilize the aquifer use the criteria to trigger restrictions on water use. Stage 1 restrictions will go into effect on Thursday for SAWS customers. Coming out of drought stages can be considered 15 days after the aquifer is above the trigger.
According to the SAWS website, Stage 1 water restrictions for SAWS customers mean:
- All residential fountains and indoor commercial fountains can operate at any stage of drought. Outdoor commercial fountains must have a SAWS variance in order to operate during drought stages 1 through 4.
- Watering with an irrigation system, sprinkler or soaker hose is allowed only once a week before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on your designated watering day.
- Water waste is prohibited at all times. Water waste includes allowing water to run off into a gutter, ditch, or drain; or failing to repair a controllable leak.
- Watering days begin and end at midnight; overnight watering is not allowed.
- You should reduce water consumption by any means available.
- All non-public swimming pools must have a minimum of 25 percent of the surface area covered with evaporation screens when not in use. Inflatable pool toys or floating decorations may be used.
- Watering with a hand-held hose, drip irrigation, bucket or watering can is allowed any time and any day.
- Washing impervious cover such as parking lots, driveways, streets or sidewalks is prohibited. Health and safety exceptions to this rule may be requested from SAWS here.
- Residential car washing allowed during drought once per week on Saturday or Sunday as long as there is no water waste.
- The use of SAWS-certified commercial car wash facilities is allowed any day.
- Operators of golf courses, athletic fields, and parks must submit a conservation plan to SAWS. For submittal requirements, operators should contact SAWS Conservation Department at 210-704-SAVE. Golf courses, athletic fields, and parks may not irrigate between the hours of 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- Landscape areas on golf courses not directly “in play” are required to follow one-day-per-week watering based on address unless otherwise instructed by SAWS.
It was a very dry winter for San Antonio and South Central Texas. Only 2.06″ of rain has fallen at the San Antonio International Airport since the beginning of the year, almost 2.5 inches below average. In Del Rio, the last time more than a quarter of an inch of rain fell in a 24-hour period was way back in early November 2021.
Drought is expanding eastward, with severe and extreme drought conditions present for the Edwards Plateau and Winter Garden regions. As of March 9, 2022, 80% of the state of Texas is in drought.