Stage 3 Restrictions Looming Over Austin
At a Leadership forum on Jan. 17, Austin Water Utility Director Greg Meszaros warned that Stage 3 water restrictions loom for the city this year. Given the probability of the current drought continuing, Meszaros said the harsher restrictions could be just months away.
Austin has NEVER had to implement Stage 3 restrictions before. The city is currently under Stage 2 restrictions, which have been in place since September 2011. Stage 2 restrictions allow lawn watering one day a week between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m.
Stage 2 restriction guidelines can be found on the City of Austin’s Water Conservation page.
Stage 3 restrictions are intended for short-term and catastrophic circumstances. A community-wide discussion about how to adapt Stage 3 to current circumstances was approved by the Austin City Council in October.
Williamson County was temporarily under Stage 3 restrictions in 2011 and if Austin follows in kind they might look like this:
* No water for lawns, even without a hose.
* No water for cars, even at car washes.
* No water for swimming pools, public or private.
* Possible allowance for watering foundations once a week.
The Lower Colorado River Authority has warned that if the drought continues at its present rate, Lake Travis will reach an all-time low by July. This is does not work in Austin’s favor because Lake Travis provides drinking water for Austin. Given this gloomy forecast, homeowners should look into installing drought tolerant plants on any new landscaping, and maintaining present tree canopies.
Xeriscaping has grown incredibly popular in Austin. It allows you to landscape and garden by reducing and possibly eliminating the need for irrigation. EarthEasy’s website has a helpful guide and tips for Xeriscaping.
If the City of Austin does decide to ban lawn watering, you might want to know the total amount of water you use. The Water Utility has a great water calculator on its website.
Last of all, praying for rain might help, though Gov. Perry tried it with little success.
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