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Update to watering rules nears completion

If you’ve lived in San Antonio very long, you know our city boasts a unique, vibrant culture. And just like breakfast tacos and Fiesta medals, water conservation has long been part of our “Puro San Antonio” vibe.

For decades, San Antonio’s conservation ordinance has helped us work together to save and extend our water resources. But despite most people following the rules, water demand has started to increase — especially over the last two summers of record heat and severe drought.

To make conservation rules more effective, efficient, and fair, SAWS is proposing changes and has been listening to your feedback to fine-tune those efforts.

automatic sprinkler watering

Recommended changes to reduce water demand include:

  • For watering rule violations, apply a fee on violators’ bills instead of a court citation.
  • During severe drought, establish a high water use surcharge.
  • Limit drip irrigation to watering one day a week.
  • Improve the quality of new home irrigation systems.

How will these changes affect customers? For those already following the rules and using modest amounts of water, not much will change. If you have an irrigation system, you will need to change settings to match new watering hours.

Those who live outside the City of San Antonio’s citation authority will be subject to the same rule enforcement as all SAWS customers. And high water users — those in the top 5% — will need to use less to avoid the high use surcharge.

SAWS will soon wrap up public input and present the proposal to SAWS’ Board of Trustees for consideration. The new rules would then need to be approved by San Antonio City Council before taking effect.

As a reminder, we’re still in drought and Stage 2 watering rules are in place. That means landscape watering with a sprinkler, irrigation system or soaker hose is allowed only from 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m., one day a week, based on the last number of your street address. You can still hand-water with a hose-end nozzle any time.

You can track your own household water use by logging in at saws.org/myaccount.

And if you haven’t weighed in yet on the proposed ordinance changes, you can still let us know what you think at wateringrules.com.