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San Marcos enters drought restrictions

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A river running through one of the surrounding Texas State Parks.
A river running through one of the surrounding Texas State Parks.

Photo by Chelsea Yohn | Staff Photographer

As Texas faces its hottest summer in years, the current drought has enacted limited water use for the City of San Marcos.

The Edwards Aquifer, which flows directly into the San Marcos Springs, has dropped to 657 feet below sea level, calling for the Edwards Aquifer Authority to call stage one water-use restrictions into place as of May 21.

The Edwards Aquifer Authority works to conserve and preserve the Edwards aquifer. It regulates Balcones Fault Zone Edwards Aquifer and oversees the Uvalde, Medina, Bexar, Atascosa, Caldwell, Guadalupe, Comal and Hays counties.

The stage 1 water-use restrictions limit the use of sprinklers to one day per week on a designated weekday determined by address. Irrigation using house-end sprinklers is allowed on designated weekdays from midnight to 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.

Irrigation with automatic systems is allowed once on the designated weekday from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following morning. Watering and using soaker hoses or drip irrigation is allowed on any day at any time.

Ann-Margaret Gonzalez, communication specialist for the Edwards Aquifer Authority, said the significance of stage 1 drought restrictions means people in the community need to lessen their withdrawal of water by 20 percent.

“May is the make or break month,” Gonzalez said. “The stages are based on the amount of rainfall we experience throughout the region. The stages are critical; they help us ensure that there’s water for people in the region.”

Tom Taggart, the Public Services Executive Director for the city of San Marcos, said the aquifer levels drop rapidly because of high demand.

“It’s essential that we all do our part to reduce water use now in order to avoid additional drought restrictions later,” Taggart said.

Jan Klein, conservation coordinator of San Marcos, asks the community to comply to the restrictions in order to avoid hitting higher drought stages.

“We have no patrols for stage 1,” Klein said. “We rely on our customers to tell us if someone is not following the restrictions. The whole point is to prevent the city from getting into those higher stages.”

From August to November in 2014, Klein said the city of San Marcos reached stage 4 drought restrictions. Determining water-use restrictions is weather dependent. Cooperation from the community is important.

For more information on stage 1 restrictions, visit san marcostx.gov/droughtresponse.

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