New rules govern the hours San Antonio residents can water lawns and when they can run fountains. Severe water shortage in Texas and other areas have lead to Draconian rules for the use of water, but there are ways to lessen the impact of these rules on citizens, while still saving water. To wit:
The goal of the revamped San Antonio conservation ordinance was to make regulations easier to follow and eliminate ones that inconvenienced residents but did not result in significant water savings, said Karen Guz, conservation director at the San Antonio Water System.
San Antonio has been in Stage 2 drought restrictions (watering is allowed only once a week) since May 2012 when the Edwards Aquifer consistently stayed below 650 feet above sea level. The restrictions get progressively tougher as the aquifer drops, triggering Stages 3 and 4.
The change that affecting the most people is in the watering hours during Stages 2, 3 and 4. Use of sprinklers, irrigation systems or soaker hoses will now be allowed from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., instead of 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
No longer will customers have to get up before 8 a.m. to turn on the outdoor spigot and haul around hoses. That will help homeowners without timer-controlled hoses or irrigation systems. Senior citizens' safety was of particular concern, Guz said.
Private residential fountains can operate, but commercial ones require a permit from SAWS. For those whose operations depend on fountains, the change is a welcome relief.
"This is epic for us," said Arlene Carter, event coordinator for the San Antonio Garden Center. "The focal point of our venue is a fountain, and having an empty fountain and trying to sell a wedding venue is very difficult."
The revised ordinance means more business for Michael Perry, manager at Fountain-Works. He is looking to hire 10 employees to meet the jump in orders. Previously, he could barely find enough work for himself in San Antonio.