Council Eases Watering Restrictions Just a Little
The City Council unanimously agreed today to continue Drought Level 2 watering restrictions through July 1 without the wintertime watering restrictions that Council applied year-round earlier this year.
The Council apparently decided upon pursuing a cautious and conservative approach even after learning that the Memorial Day weekend thunderstorms raised San Angelo’s surface water supply to more than 30 months.
The 30-day span will allow the Water Utilities Department to craft a comprehensive package of drought restrictions and water rates that will cement a conservation ethic within water customers while ensuring the Water Utilities generates adequate revenue to fund its operations and the maintenance and improvement of San Angelo’s water infrastructure. San Angelo also must repay a $120 million loan that funded the construction of the Hickory Aquifer project.
The City Council will consider new rates and restrictions at its July 1 meeting.
Water Utilities Director Ricky Dickson told the Council that San Angelo’s surface water supply is 30.57 months. When the Hickory Aquifer supply is factored into the calculations, the available water supply increases to approximately 36 months. Up to 6 million gallons per day of Hickory water will be available when a groundwater treatment facility comes online in November.
Under the City’s Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan, standard conservation measures are to be followed when the City has more than 24 months of available supply. Citing citizen support and a desire to conserve, the Council instead agreed to maintain Drought Level 2 restrictions, which are prescribed by ordinance when the city has less than 18 months of water supply. Those measures include:
- Watering no more than once every seven days with total applications not exceeding 1 inch per week. There are no exceptions for new landscapes.
- Watering is prohibited from noon to 6 p.m., when evaporation rates are highest.
- Golf courses greens may be watered daily except during prohibited watering hours.
- Drip irrigation and hand watering are allowed on any day, so long as the total amount of water used does not exceed 1 inch per week. Drip irrigation may occur at any time of day. Hand watering is prohibited from noon to 6 p.m.
- Water may not run more than 150 feet down any gutter, street, alley or ditch.
- Excessive use fees are applied for residential usage in excess of 10,000 gallons per billing period.
Previously, the Council had tightened the Drought Level 2 watering restrictions, instituting wintertime restrictions that allow watering once every 14 days. The Council agreed to allow watering once every seven days, which the ordinance prescribes from April 1 through Oct. 31.
Prior to the Memorial Day storms, San Angelo had less than 12.5 months of available surface water supply. Had the supply dropped to less than 12 months, all outside watering would have been prohibited.
The rains, which officially totaled 7.42 inches at the National Weather Service offices at San Angelo Regional Airport, provided approximately 18 months of supply in O.H. Ivie and Twin Buttes reservoirs and in Lake Nasworthy. San Angelo’s primary water source, Ivie is at 21 percent of its capacity. Twin Buttes is at 12 percent capacity and Nasworthy is at 94 percent of its capacity.
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