The City of Victoria is requiring residents to take steps to conserve water as the City initiated Stage II of its drought contingency plan this week.
The City’s drought contingency plan is a series of water conservation measures that the City is authorized to take during periods of decreased water availability. The plan is divided into stages of increasing restrictions that are initiated based on specific triggering criteria.
The City had been in Stage One of the plan since May. Stage One is triggered whenever the Guadalupe River falls below its normal level for a given time of year.
The City is now entering Stage II because low rainfall to the north of Victoria has caused the Guadalupe River flow to drop below 250 cubic feet per second, which is the triggering threshold for Stage II for this month. When the Guadalupe River is below this level, the City is not permitted to pump water from the river under its 1998 surface water permit, so reducing water usage is essential to ensure an adequate water supply.
The City is seeking authorization to continue pumping during the current period of low flow. However, Stage II of the drought contingency plan will continue regardless of whether this authorization is obtained.
What should residents do to conserve water?
Under Stage II of the plan, residents are required to limit certain types of nonessential water usage to the hours of 6-10 a.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight to avoid water loss through evaporation. Activities that are limited to these times include using an automatic lawn sprinkler or hose-end sprinkler, filling pools and washing vehicles, although this restriction does not apply to commercial car washes and service stations.
Residents can water their lawns with hoses at any time of day, as long as the hose has a positive shut-off nozzle.
A full list of Stage II restrictions can be found at www.victoriatx.gov/droughtplan.
In addition, residents are asked to voluntarily reduce water use for nonessential purposes and to practice water conservation measures.
When will the restrictions be lifted?
The City will terminate Stage II restrictions and re-enter Stage One of the drought contingency plan after the flow of the Guadalupe River rises above the Stage II threshold for a period of 14 consecutive days. Under Stage One, all mandatory restrictions will be lifted and residents will be asked to continue voluntary water conservation measures.
For more information about the drought contingency plan, visit www.victoriatx.gov/droughtplan or contact Public Works at 361-485-3381.
City Corner column: Drought contingency plan helps us use water within our means