City orders Stage 4 water rules

Julye Keeble 
Staff Writer

With portions of the county in severe drought conditions, the Edwards Aquifer Authority and the city of Uvalde have both declared Stage 4 water restrictions.

Per Stage 4 city rules, residents using a large monthly amount of the municipal water supply, 20,000 gallons and up, may see a sharp rise in their utility bills.

The city has a drought surcharge for municipal water customers, with higher fees based on how many gallons of water are used in a given month.

In Stage 4, those customers known as Tier 2, who use more than 20,000 gallons of water during a monthly billing cycle, should multiply existing water rates by 150 percent. Heavier users, classed as Tier 3, who use 50,000 gallons and up, should multiply their rates by 250 percent. If Uvalde once again reaches Stage 5 restrictions, last seen as of June 4, 2015, rates could rise to 200 percent for Tier 2 customers and 300 percent for Tier 3. 

Water restriction from Stage 3, implemented by the city of Uvalde on July 26, remain in effect, with added caveats.

Landscape watering with an irrigation system, sprinkler or soaker hose may be done only on a set garbage collection day, and between the hours of 6-8 a.m. and 8-10 p.m.

Watering with drip irrigation or a 5-gallon bucket is permitted once a week, on garbage collection day.

Watering with a handle held hose with a stopper attachment affixed to the nozzle may be done daily between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Trees or house foundations may  be watered anytime with a soaker or hand held hose or bucket; a permit is required to wash paved areas; cars may be washed over grass on Saturdays and Sundays; and pools exceeding 7,500 gallons may not be filled with city water.

Drought conditions

Every day this month through Aug. 15 has been 100 degrees or higher, as measured by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension agency weather station. The scorching heat is predicted to continue through the week, with a scant possibility of rain the evening of Aug. 15 having passed with no precipitation.

The U.S. Drought Monitor almost slices the county on a diagonal line, with the majority of the southwest portion of the county  in moderate drought, the northwest portion, which includes Uvalde, mostly in severe drought, and the tip of the upper northeast area, closer to Medina and Bandera counties, in extreme drought.

On Aug. 11, the EAA declared Stage 4 Critical Period Management conditions for the Uvalde Pool, which requires a 35 percent reduction by groundwater permit holders.

The penultimate stage was enacted when the 10-day average of the J-27 index well, which monitors the Uvalde Pool, fell below 842 feet, hitting and average of 841.9 feet above above mean sea level.

As of Aug. 16, the 10-day average for the J-27 well was at 841.5, with a daily reading of 841.1.

If the well level continues to fall and goes below a 10-day average of 840 feet, Stage 5 could be implemented by the EAA. This stage would require a 44 percent reduction in pumping.

Following the EAA declaration, the city implemented the more stringent water restrictions on Aug. 14., 830-278-3335