Lockhart to impose watering restrictions


By LPR Staff

For the first time in several years, the City of Lockhart will impose mandatory outdoor watering restrictions beginning on June 15, 2008.
According to City Manager Vance Rodgers, peak water usage by City of Lockhart customers during the month of May activated the city’s Water Conservation Plan and Drought Contingency P

lan under § 58.7 of the City of Lockhart Code of Ordinances.
“Lockhart has sufficient water resources, but conservation is essential to ensure that these resources will be there for years to come,” Rodgers said.
According to Rodgers, each customer within the City of Lockhart will have two designated days per week for outdoor watering.
Commercial and multi-family (fourplex units and above) may water on Tuesdays and Fridays. Residential commercials will odd-numbered street addresses may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays and customers with even-numbered addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays.
For all customers, outdoor watering may only be done with sprinklers and automatic irrigation systems of any kind between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on the scheduled days. Those who choose to water with hand-held hoses or buckets may do so at any time and on any day.
Under the watering restrictions, Rodgers said, customers are encouraged not to wash sidewalks, driveways, parking areas or other paved surfaces except in cases where an immediate health or safety hazard is present.
Failure to comply with outdoor watering restrictions amounts to a misdemeanor charge punishable by a fine of up to $500. While variances to the restrictions may be granted, requests for such variance must be made in writing, to the City Manager, and will not be considered “solely on the basis of convenience of the customer.”
These watering restrictions come shortly after the City Council discussed agreements to sell short-term water supplies to a third party. Rodgers insists, however, that the agreements will only be made if the third party commits to a contract increasing the City’s current water resources to address Lockhart’s water needs, both now and in the future.
“This step is to avoid emergency conservation measures,” Rodgers said. “Like many communities in Texas, water restrictions have become a reality during the summer months and for some it is year around.”
As Lockhart introduces mandatory watering restrictions, the Edwards Aquifer Authority also released a statement urging voluntary conservation for customers in the aquifer region, including those in Caldwell, Hays, Comal and Guadalupe Counties.
Authority officials estimate that without significant rainfall, the region could face “Stage I Restrictions” by late June. If declared, the “Stage I” restrictions would apply to all groundwater permit holders in the San Antonio Pool. The restrictions, if enacted, will required all permit holders to reduce their pumping by 20 percent, and is declared when the 10-day average of the aquifer level readings drop below 660 feet above mean sea level, or the flow of spring discharge drops below96 cubic feet per second at the San Marcos Springs or 225 cubic feet per second at the Comal Springs.
According to the statement released by the Authority’s Assistant General Manager Roland Ruiz, the Authority is concerned with declining aquifer and springflow levels, and hopes voluntary conservation will stave off a Stage I declaration.
“The Authority attributes declining aquifer levels to less-than-average rainfall over the past eight months and an increase in pumping from the aquifer as temperatures have risen,” Ruiz said.
Current weather forecasts at press time show the likelihood of temperatures hovering in the mid- to high-90s for the next 10 days, with little chance of rain on the horizon.


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