A chunk of limestone from the Edwards Aquifer shows the pores and crevices that allow the rock layer to hold and carry water. Credit: Brendan Gibbons / San Antonio Report

After more than six months of relatively stable water levels in the Edwards Aquifer, the average level of the water below San Antonio has dipped low enough for mandatory outdoor watering cutbacks to kick in.

The 10-day average level of the J-17 well that monitors the Edwards Aquifer below San Antonio has stayed below 660 feet above mean sea level, according to the San Antonio Water System.

That means City Manager Sheryl Sculley, in consultation with SAWS President and CEO Robert Puente, must declare Stage 1 watering restrictions, as required by City ordinance.

The restriction limits use of outdoor sprinkler systems to once per week, before 11 a.m. and after 7 p.m., based on the last number of a resident’s address. The assigned days are:

  • 0 or 1 – Monday
  • 2 or 3 – Tuesday
  • 4 or 5 – Wednesday
  • 6 or 7 – Thursday
  • 8 or 9 – Friday

A Sunday rainstorm that dropped 1 to 3 inches on parts of San Antonio wasn’t enough to push that average back over 660 feet.

San Antonio has not seen drought restrictions since they were last lifted on Oct. 17, 2017.

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Brendan Gibbons

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.