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Earth Friendly: Follow restrictions for Drought Contingency Plan

By By Kate Garcia
Aug. 1, 2013 at 3:01 a.m.

Kate Garcia

Water - it's a hot topic right now, and it's not cooling down any time soon.

There are many wonderful reasons to live in Texas. However, one thing I have always struggled with is that it gets so blazingly, makeup-melting hot outside. Not only do these hot, dry conditions melt makeup, but they affect our water levels in a drastic way.

Our main water source is the Guadalupe River (part of which runs through Riverside Park). As many of you kayakers, fishermen and rock skippers have noticed, the river has been down for some time now. At this point in time, I think it would be safe to compare water to oil in how valuable they are to us.

To protect this valuable resource in these dry times, the city has formulated what is called a Drought Contingency Plan. Within this plan are five stages.

Currently, Victoria is in Stage II of the city's Drought Contingency Plan. What does that mean to residents? It means a lot. Residents are required to perform certain tasks according to the stage we are in when the city moves in and out of drought stages.

Stage 1 mild water shortage conditions: Customers are asked to voluntarily practice water conserving methods.

Stage 2 moderate water shortage conditions: Watering with anything other than a handheld hose with a shutoff nozzle, 5-gallon bucket or watering can or drip irrigation is restricted to the hours of 6-10 a.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight.

Washing any motorized vehicles with anything other than a handheld hose with a shutoff nozzle or a 5-gallon bucket is restricted to the hours of 6-10 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. unless done at a commercial car wash.

Other activities restricted to the hours of 6-10 a.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight include filling or refilling any type of indoor or outdoor pool/jacuzzi and the watering of any golf course not using some other water source not supplied by the city. Water from hydrants is restricted to firefighting and also construction sites only under permit by the city.

Stage 3 severe water shortage conditions: Irrigation and landscaping is restricted to designated water days and further limited to the hours of 6-10 a.m. and 8 p.m.-midnight unless watered with the permitted methods listed in Stage 2.

Ornamental fountains/pools shall not be operated unless needed for aquatic life or equipped with a recirculation system. Restaurants may not serve water to customers unless requested. Water may not be used to wash hard surfaces or buildings, to control dust or flush gutters.

Controllable leaks must be fixed within 15 days of notice to repair such leaks. Water shall not be permitted to accumulate in streets or gutters.

For descriptions of Stages 4 and 5 and more detailed information in the Drought Contingency Plan, visit the city of Victoria website, click on the "city code" link under the city government headline and type "Drought Contingency Plan" into the search box.

Of course, you can always call or email if further clarification is needed regarding any environmental questions you may have.

Kate Garcia is the programs coordinator for the city of Victoria, Environmental Services.

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