Our current dry spell and heat wave, combined with pumping season are taking its toll on the Edwards Aquifer. As of Monday, water levels within the J-17 well, measured over a 10-day average, have dropped below 640 feet. This has trigged Stage 3 restrictions from the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
What Does This Mean For You?
This can be a bit confusing. Here’s how it breaks down:
In short, if you are a pumper or a permit holder within the Edwards Aquifer Authority, then Stage 3 restrictions are now in place. All industrial, municipal, and agricultural permits are reduced by 35% of their authorized amount. During Stage 2, the permits are reduced by 30%. This is in an effort to sustain spring flows in times of drought. This includes municipal water utilities likes SAWS, Alamo Heights, and New Braunfels. However...
If you are a SAWS customer, then not much changes. Due to the fact that SAWS has diversified its water portfolio, they have the supplies to be able to make up for the EAA permit cutbacks. A San Antonio city ordinance allows us to remain in Stage 2 in this situation. A similar scenario occurred back the drought years of 2013-2014, with the aquifer dropping below 630′ at one point. Stage 3 restrictions were never utilized.
SAWS does want everyone to take Stage 2 restrictions seriously. This calls for once-a-week irrigation watering on your assigned day. Now that everyone has had time to get used to the rules, enforcement will be escalated. Citations may be issued to those who violate the restrictions.
New Braunfels Utilities also decided not to declare Stage 3 restrictions at this time.