Water Restrictions: What’s My Stage Again?

allie-the-plumberBy Allie Perez

 

As someone who works in the plumbing industry, I know that one of the most important facets of environmental sustainability for San Antonio lies in the procurement and treatment of our scarce water supply. So important, we included “reducing water usage” in our SA2020 goals for the sustainable future of our city.

Why is it so important to conserve water? Well, drought can affect agriculture and increase taxes. Saving water saves the city money and ensures a stable supply of water for the future. Effective water conservation and use also means that the San Antonio River – a foundational element to our local economy – will keep running strong.

No stranger to drought and water restrictions, San Antonio currently possesses one of the strongest water conservation programs in the country. Texas, since recorded history, has always battled with droughts, floods and hurricanes. Water, while crucial to survival, does not come to our great state with consistency. We drought and we flood, and occasionally we must pick up the pieces of the disasters caused by the force of water.

In the mid 1990’s a rare salamander caused an uproar when the federal government intervened and set a minimum at which we must keep our Edwards Aquifer for the salamander and other local species to survive and thrive. Due to this decision, San Antonio faced a challenging opportunity to be proactive about the state of our water supply.

What Day Can You Water? (chart)Taking this proactive approach allows us to be prepared for the infamously random rain patterns that occur year over year, and make smart choices about re-using wastewater for valuable . For example, San Antonio has been on Stage 2 water restrictions since winter. With the lack of heavy rainfall this spring, we could be heading into Stage 3 restrictions by the end of the summer. Here’s how the restriction stages break down:

Stage 1 : No restrictions

Stage 2 : Irrigation, sprinkler and soaker can only be used ONCE A WEEK on your watering day. (current stage)

Stage 3 : Irrigation, sprinkler and soaker can only be used EVERY OTHER WEEK on your watering day.

Stage 4 : Stage 3 restrictions plus a drought surcharge is added for irrigation watering.

  • Hand watering can be done any day at any time.
  • Water times are 7a-11a or 7p-11p.
  • Your water day is determined by the last digit of your home address: Monday 0-1, Tuesday 2-3, Wednesday 4-5, Thursday 6-7, Friday 8-9

Since these restrictions were implemented, the San Antonio Water System has successfully saved about 1 billion gallons of water a year. Once you understand the history and difficulty of water procurement in our State, the water restrictions tend to make much more sense, and it’s easier to do your part to contribute to our community’s goals, and ultimately our future.

 

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