San Antonio Police Officer Rendon stands in the street after being handed a novelty light saber to direct traffic. Photo by Scott Ball.
San Antonio Police Officer Rendon stands in the street after being handed a novelty light saber to direct traffic. Heavy rains cancelled the holiday parade on the River Walk in December 2015. Photo by Scott Ball.

Starting Tuesday, San Antonio Water System customers can water their yards under less-stringent rules after the public utility announced that Stage 2 water restrictions have been lifted, allowing ratepayers to use irrigation systems or hose-end sprinklers any day of the week before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m.

Under Stage 2 restrictions, only certain addresses could water on certain weekdays days between 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m.

When water levels in the Edwards Aquifer rise and fall, SAWS and the city manager have the authority to adjust drought restrictions. After heavy rainfall and cool weather in November, the water level rose above 660 feet mean sea level, triggering Year-Round restrictions.

The brief return of year-round restrictions over the summer sparked city leaders and the community to ask if the City should instead impose Stage 1 or even Stage 2 restrictions year-round.

SAWS created an online survey, now closed, to find out how the community would feel about doing so and is still considering the suggestion. The results of the survey have not yet been publicly released.

Before lifted this summer, San Antonio had observed SAWS’ Stage 2 restrictions since 2012 and had some type of water restrictions since 2011.

The following is from SAWS’ website explaining Year-Round water restrictions:

  • Under Year-Round guidelines, all fountains – whether commercial or residential, or indoor or outdoor – are allowed.
  • Landscape watering with an irrigation system or sprinkler is permitted any day of the week before 11 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
  • Hand watering with a hand-held hose, drip irrigation, soaker hose or bucket is permitted any time of day.
  • Washing impervious cover such as parking lots, driveways, streets or sidewalks is permitted without runoff to avoid water waste.
  • Water waste is prohibited at all times. Allowing water to run off into a gutter, ditch, or drain or failing to repair a controllable leak is considered water waste.
  • Residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural Edwards Aquifer water users should use common sense and best practices to avoid water waste.
  • The use of commercial vehicle wash facilities is permitted any day.

*Top image: San Antonio Police Officer Rendon stands in the street after being handed a novelty light saber to direct traffic during heavy rains in late November 2015 that canceled several holiday celebrations. Photo by Scott Ball. 

Related Stories:

San Antonio Brings Back Drought Restrictions

SAWS: Prepare for the Return of Drought Restrictions

SAWS Survey: Should Year-Round Watering Rules be More Strict?

San Antonio Drought Restriction Lifted, Conservation Still Encouraged

SAWS Seeks Committee, Public Input for Proposed Rate Structure

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org