Due to triple digit heat coupled with lack of rain, the city of Austin plans to move to Stage 2 water restrictions starting September 6. These new guidelines will make it even more difficult for residents who are trying to keep their lawns and other plant life alive.
Under the new guidelines, residents will only be able to water their lawns once per week and on designated days. While hand-watering will be allowed at any time, the use of sprinkler systems will only be allowed before 10:00 a.m. and after 7:00 p.m. Other restrictions included in State 2 are:
• Vehicles can only be washed on designated days and must be washed before 10:00 a.m.
• No washing of driveways, sidewalks, parking areas or other paved areas
• No water is to be served at a restaurant unless it has been requested
• No charity car washes
• No outdoor fountains unless necessary to provide aeration for aquatic life
• No automatic-fill valves with ponds or pools
Since the city gets its water through the Lower Colorado River Authority from Lakes Buchanan and Travis, Austin Water has been working closely with the authority since the beginning of the year in an effort to monitor lake levels. The LCRA reports that the lakes are currently only 47 percent full and are expected to be just 45 percent full by next week. Since there is no end to the drought in sight, officials cannot predict how long the restrictions will be in place. In fact, they acknowledge there is a possibility the restrictions will become stricter.
The city hasn’t gone into Stage 2 restrictions since August 2009. Those who violate the new restrictions will receive a warning after the first violation. After the second offense, violators will receive a citation, with fines starting at $475. Starting on September 6, more crews will be out to monitor violations.