Dry Conditions Have SAWS Thinking Water Restrictions

Even thought there is rain in our forecast for this week, forecasters are more worried about a gathering drought which is affecting much of the state, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The latest Drought Monitor from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows drought conditions affecting all of the Panhandle and much of west Texas, with the northern part of Bexar County listed as 'abnormally dry.'

That has prompted the San Antonio Water System to start thinking about water restrictions."We didn't start with as high an aquifer level this year as we did last year," SAWS Conservation Manager Karen Guz says. "So we have been projecting that some time in May, we might hit Stage One."

Stage One limits lawn watering to one day a week, based on the last digit of your street address.  Currently, lawn watering is allowed any day, but only within specific parameters, including no watering between 11AM and 7PM.

Very serious water restrictions were in place during the drought of 2011-2015, but those have been scrapped as drought conditions recede.  SAWS has also added new sources of water which are not as susceptible to drought, like the huge 'water bank' which stores water underground in southeast Bexar County, and a new system which removes the salt from brackish underground water.

But Guz says it looks likely that sometime this summer, we will face at least Stage One restrictions.

"Farmers who plant crops to the west of us and also use the Edwards Aquifer, they also have to start irrigating a lot in May and June."

So if the rain that is in the forecast for this week fails to materialize in any large amount, we could be shutting off those sprinklers before Memorial Day.


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