Customers feel drought’s bite
By LPR Staff
Last week, the National Weather Service declared that Central Texas is in a state of “Extreme Drought,” upgraded from the “Moderate” conditions reported the week before. In an effort to offset those drought conditions and preserve water resources, many utility providers in the area have enacted either voluntary or mand
atory conservation standards.
On June 15, the City of Lockhart introduced mandatory watering restrictions for residential and commercial customer within the City of Lockhart.
While many understand the restrictions and the need for them, some Lockhart residents seem to be confused, according to City Manager Vance Rodgers.
“In the first week of mandatory watering, we had 30 violations,” he said in an email on Monday. “People might not [understand when they can and cannot water], based on the number of violations we’ve had.”
Rodgers was careful to explain that the City of Lockhart is not in danger of running out of water, but is taking the steps prescribed by the city’s Code of Ordinances to make sure the water supply is not endangered Under the mandatory watering restrictions, all commercial customers and all multi-family residences (fourplexes and above) may only water on Tuesdays and Fridays. Residential customers with street addresses ending in odd numbers may water with sprinklers, sprinkler systems or irrigation systems on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and residential customers with addresses ending in even numbers may do so on Thursdays and Sundays.
All watering with sprinklers, sprinkler systems or irrigation systems is restricted to between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the date designated for the property type or address. Although watering with automatic sprinklers and irrigation systems is allowed by the ordinance, residents are cautioned against allowing those systems to run to such a degree that water pools or flows into streets or drainage areas. Such “over-watering” constitutes a violation of the ordinance.
Rogers also pointed out hand-watering with a hose or bucket is allowed at any time on any day. Additionally, adult-supervised use of water for recreation, such as swimming pools or water slides, is allowed at any time on any day.
However, customers are not permitted to wash patios, sidewalks or driveways at any time while the City of Lockhart remains under mandatory watering restrictions, except to alleviate an immediate emergency or danger.
Customers may request variances to the watering restrictions, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis, Rodgers said. Variances will not be granted if the only reason for the request is the “convenience of the customer.”
Rural water customers are also feeling the effects of the drought, though perhaps not to the degree the municipal customers are.
According to Tommy Forrester, the Operations Manager for the Tri-Community Water Supply, Stage One voluntary compliance to watering restrictions has been requested in the tri-community area. Under Stage One restrictions, customers are asked to voluntarily reduce their water usage and to be mindful of their use of water for non-essential purposes, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
The Martindale Water Supply Corporation intends to upgrade their restrictions to Stage Two status later this month. TCEQ suggests that under Stage Two, customers be restricted to watering only on certain days and within certain time frames. The Martindale WSC is preparing a mail-out for their customers, which should be delivered in the next week and will spell out the restrictions more clearly. Those details will be published when they become available.
Representatives from the Maxwell Water Supply Corporation could not be reached on Wednesday for comment.
Extended forecasts show minimal chances of rain and temperatures continuing to hover near 100 degrees for the next two weeks, and no break to the current drought conditions are in sight.
Watch future issues of the Lockhart Post-Register for updated developments on water conservation efforts in Caldwell County.