Stage 4 restrictions now in place for Edwards Aquifer permit holders, but not SAWS customers

The Comal Springs streamflow dips to a 10-day average of 96 cfs - lowest since Nov. 2014

While some Edwards Aquifer permit holders are now under stage 4 water restrictions, SAWS customers will remain under stage 2 restrictions. (Copyright 2022 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

Our exceptional drought, combined with pumping season, is taking its toll on the Edwards Aquifer.

As of Friday, Aug. 12, the 10-day average streamflow at Comal Springs has dipped below 100 cfs. This has triggered Stage 4 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 4 restrictions are now in place.

All industrial, municipal, and agricultural permits are reduced by 40% of their authorized amount.

This is in an effort to sustain spring flows in times of drought. All affected permit holders must also report their pumping totals to the EAA on a monthly basis.

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 during the drought years of 2013-2014. Stage 3 or greater 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 are under Stage 3 restrictions at this time.

According to NBU, “In Stage 3, watering with a sprinkler or irrigation system is allowed one day per week every other week based on the last digit of your address and must occur BEFORE 10:00 a.m. and AFTER 8:00 p.m.”

LEARN MORE: How does the Edwards Aquifer work & why is it so heavily regulated? KSAT Explains


About the Authors:

Sarah Spivey is a San Antonio native who grew up watching KSAT. She has been a proud member of the KSAT Weather Authority Team since 2017. Sarah is a Clark High School and Texas A&M University graduate. She previously worked at KETN News. When Sarah is not busy forecasting, she enjoys hanging out with her husband and cat, and playing music.

Justin Horne is a meteorologist and reporter for KSAT 12 News. When severe weather rolls through, Justin will hop in the KSAT 12 Storm Chaser to safely bring you the latest weather conditions from across South Texas. On top of delivering an accurate forecast, Justin often reports on one of his favorite topics: Texas history.