THREE RIVERS – A continuing drought and increased demand for water has prompted Three Rivers city officials to enact stringent restrictions on the supply and stiff penalties for wasting water.
Three Rivers’ current Stage 2 restrictions will be upgraded to Stage 3 on Aug. 20, although penalties won’t be enforced until at least Sept. 3, city officials said.
Residents who waste water under Stage 3 after that date can be penalized under the Enforcement Section of the city’s Drought Contingency Plan — meaning they can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined between $100 and $2,000 each day, officials said.
Three Rivers is one of at least 1,173 public water supply systems across the state with voluntary or mandatory water restrictions, according to a report issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality.
The activation of Stage 3 is a direct response to news that Choke Canyon Reservoir has dropped below 30 percent of capacity. As a result, Three Rivers city officials were forced to enact Stage 3 Water Restrictions under the city’s updated water conservation plan adopted this year.
“An approximate estimation has been determined that if no water flows into Choke Canyon lake we may have about two years left before we can no longer pump water out of the lake,” according to the statement from Three Rivers Mayor Sam Garcia. “All of the city of Three Rivers water customers have been currently under Stage 2 Water Restrictions. Under the city’s updated Water Conservation Plan, which was adopted this year, the provisions call to implement Stage 3 Water Restrictions, as stated in the city’s Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan whenever the lake level drops below 30 percent.”
While this Drought Contingency Plan is in effect, all water customers are requested to practice water conservation and discontinue non-essential watering. These uses include any-thing defined by the city as water waste, landscape irrigation as well as washing off vehicles, hard surfaces, buildings and structures. Water is furthermore not to be used for dust control, aesthetic ponds, fountains and water features during this time.
Water waste, prohibited at all times, is defined as watering between 10-7 p.m. or failing to repair a controllable leak on irrigation systems, plumbing fixtures and pipes. Water during this time also cannot be used for a permanently installed irrigation system with a broken or missing head or a head that is out of adjustment. Landscape irrigation also is forbidden, as is allowing the water to run off-property, or be allowed to pond.
“The City of Three Rivers is asking everyone to please do your part to help conserve our most valuable water source,” Three Rivers Mayor Garcia said in the issued statement.
City officials urge residents to read the entire ordinance and water contingency plan. A copy of the ordinance can be obtained from city’s Water Conservation and Drought Contingency Plan at City Hall located at 105 N. Harborth or by calling 361-786-2528 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.