City under Stage I rules


Stage I water conservation rules go into effect today for the city of San Marcos, breaking the longest stretch of restrictions beyond those applicable year-round in 10 years time.

The last period of Stage II restrictions ended some 20 months ago on Nov. 15, 2015 — just two weeks after the second major flood of that year.

Stage I rules were implemented by the Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA) on Thursday.

Stage I in San Marcos means residents may use sprinklers only one day per week on days designated by address, are prohibited from washing their cars at home, washing impervious surfaces and watering their home’s foundation.

Hand watering and using soaker hoses is allowed at any time, and residents may also use hose-end sprinklers on their designated day before 10 a.m.or after 8 p.m. Irrigation with automatic systems on designated days is allowed beginning at 8 p.m. until the next morning at 8 a.m.

All wasting of water is prohibited.

Violators are subject to warnings and then fines, per city ordinance.

The action follows the Thursday imposition of a burn ban for Hays County. Outdoor burning is prohibited at all times within the city limits.

“We have been lucky the last few years, but it’s important to remember that drought is always just around the corner in our area,” Tom Taggart, director of the city’s department of public services. “It is essential that all residents do their part to conserve our precious water resources, especially as we head into the hot summer months.”

Water restrictions are linked to the level of the J-17 well into the Edwards Aquifer located at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and also to springflow in the San Marcos and Comal spring systems.

Stage I is implemented when the 10-day average level falls below 660 feet above mean sea level (msl).

Aquifer levels have been steadily dropping for weeks. On Thursday, the J-17 level was 658.1, with a 10-day average of 659.4. It was 658.0 (659.1) 10-day average on Saturday.

City water restrictions go up to Stage IV, though in the past 10 years that has only been implemented once, from Aug. 17, to Nov. 16, 2014. Stage III has been implemented three times since 2007; Stage II nine times and Stage I, 10 times.

Additional triggers for Stage I are the flow at San Marcos Springs dropping to 96 cubic feet per second (cfs) or the Comal springflow to 225.

Stage II is implemented when the J-17 well drops to 650 msl, the flow from San Marcos Springs to 80 cubic feet per second (cfs) or the Comal springflow drops to 220. Stage III is triggered when the J-18 well falls to 640 msl, or Comal springflow is 150 cfs or lower. San Marcos springflow, because it is less than that of Comal, isn’t applicable to Stage III and Stage IV.

Triggers for Stage IV are a J-17 reading of 630 or below or Comal springflow drops to 100 cfs.

Residents who live outside the city limits but are within the jurisdiction of the EAA must reduce pumping by 20 percent in Stage I, 30 percent in Stage II, 35 percent in Stage III and 40 percent in Stage IV.

Stage V, which has never been implemented, would go into effect when the JH-17 falls to 625 msl or Comal springflow to 45 cfs.

Comal Springs are the state’s largest. They went dry during the drought of record in the 1950s. San Marcos Springs have never been known to fail.

San Marcos Daily Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666