Drought Level 1 takes effect Aug. 1
The City Council has enacted Drought Level 1 restrictions that limit outside watering to once every seven days and no more than 1 inch per week, effective Aug. 1.
The change from watering twice to once a week is dictated by the City’s drought contingency ordinance, which mandates the tighter restriction when San Angelo’s available water supply slips to 24 months. Twenty-four months is a worst-case scenario that assumes no rainfall or runoff into San Angelo’s reservoirs over that two-year span.
“San Angelo has for years now embraced water conservation, realizing how vital an adequate water supply is for the continued growth of our community,” Mayor Brenda Gunter said. “We are now asking our citizens to be even more mindful about their water usage and to redouble their conservation efforts. In short, we all need to do our part and be water-smart.”
Currently, the City’s primary water source, Ivie Reservoir, is at 15 percent of its capacity. Twin Buttes and O.C. Fisher reservoirs are at 9 percent and 7 percent of their capacities, respectively. Lake Nasworthy is at 81 percent of its capacity. The City is also using about 1.5 million gallons per day from the Hickory Aquifer.
Year to date, San Angelo has recorded 9.68 inches of rainfall – 1.61 inches below normal. The area has been plagued with triple-digit heat since May.
The use of water sprinklers and handheld hoses is prohibited from noon-6 p.m. when evaporation rates are highest. Drip irrigation can be used any time of day, but should not exceed 1 inch per week. Under the drought ordinance, golf course greens may be watered daily from 6 p.m. until noon the following day.
Water runoff of more than 150 feet from a property is always prohibited.
Residential users who use more than 3,000 gallons per month also face higher charges. Usage of 3,000-15,000 gallons will be charged at 1.05 times the regular rate. The rate for usage of 16,000-39,000 gallons is 1.1 times the normal rate. For usage of more than 39,000 gallons, the multiplier is 1.2 times the normal rate.
While the watering restrictions require customers to conserve water, the Drought Level 1 surcharge is meant to encourage consumers to be more mindful of their usage to stretch the community’s water supply as far as possible.
Should San Angelo slip to Drought Level 3, which is triggered by 12 months of available water supply, outdoor watering would be prohibited and higher rate multipliers for usage would be triggered.
To report a watering violation, call the Code Compliance office at 325-657-4409, visit cosatx.us/water, email email@example.com, or message the City of San Angelo-Public Information Facebook page. Reports should include the address, the time of day, the nature of the violation and, if available, photos.
Current drought level
As of Aug. 1, the City is in Drought Level 1, which restricts outside watering to no more than once every seven days and no more than 1 inch per week. Watering is prohibited from noon-6 p.m., as is runoff of more than 150 feet down any street, gutter, alley or ditch.
Of the City Council's five approved priorities, water tops that list. Learn more by clicking here.
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The Water Utilities Department administers the eight divisions that make up the "water department." Those divisions are:
Water Conservation educates the public on how it can make the most efficient use of San Angelo's public water supply in an effort to conserve and preserve the community's most precious natural resource.
Water Customer Service
Water Customer Service assists citizens in signing up and paying for the utility services provided through the City of San Angelo: water, sewer and trash pickup.
Water Distribution provides maintenance, preventative maintenance, construction and emergency repair to all water and sewer lines throughout the City of San Angelo.
Water Production is responsible for producing high-quality drinking water that meets safe drinking water standards and in sufficient quantities to supply the needs of the citizens and businesses of San Angelo. This is done by operating raw water supply facilities, treating the potable water supply and operating high service and remote pumping stations and tanks.
The mission of Water Quality is to analyze and evaluate the quality of the source water, treated water and wastewater for compliance with state-mandated water quality standards.
Water Reclamation treats wastewater from the City of San Angelo to remove pollutants and to produce an environmentally safe water that meets state permit requirements. All of the reclaimed water is utilized for irrigation.
Water Utilities Maintenance
Water Utilities Maintenance provides maintenance, preventative maintenance and construction to all water and wastewater treatment plants, water pump stations, water storage tanks, wastewater lift-stations, more than 150 grinder pumps, the Sewer Farm pump station, Nasworthy Dam, Nasworthy irrigation canal, Twin Buttes Dam, and the Spence pipeline, water tanks and pump stations.
Hickory Aquifer project moves ahead
There’s a sense of urgency to develop the Hickory Aquifer to the full capacity San Angelo is allowed – for two reasons.
One, we need the water. Whenever San Angelo needs its full allocation of Hickory water, we want the infrastructure in place to pump, transport and treat it. The final phase of the Hickory’s development will involve drilling up to seven more wells and growing treatment capacity from 8 million gallons per day to 12 million.
Two, the City remains committed to selling the Ford Ranch, which sits atop the aquifer. The City last year purchased the ranch for about $43 million. That move protected San Angelo’s stake in a vital water source. The City expects to recoup much of that investment by selling the ranch, but we want to complete the infrastructure construction before placing it on the market.
This year, we’ll also begin analyzing potential improvements to the sewer system around Lake Nasworthy. The system is at max capacity, which limits economic development at the lake and nearby San Angelo Regional Airport.
The system is a complex network of hundreds of grinders, some 26 lift stations (which moves sewage from one line to another) and many miles of mains. Those lines pump their contents from one station to the next, before finally dumping into mains that rely upon gravity to move sewage.
Upgrading Nasworthy’s sewer system and growing its capacity will cost millions.
That project is a small part of a larger effort to improve our system’s infrastructure. This consists primarily of replacing mains that have surpassed their recommended life spans. We estimate the needs, including at both of San Angelo’s treatment plants, exceed $100 million each for water and sewer.
That’s daunting, but we expect to make significant headway this year. All of the water and sewer mains beneath Bell Street will be replaced as that roadway is rebuilt. And a long overdue effort to replace a sewer line in the Santa Rita neighborhood will also happen this year.