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Earth Friendly: Stage III of Drought Contingency Plan in full swing

By By Kate Garcia
Sept. 12, 2013 at 4:12 a.m.

Kate Garcia

It's my goal with each article to write about topics that affect each and every one of us environmentally while still trying to make you laugh at the same time. Life can throw many curve balls at us, but why not find something to chuckle about to get through an issue?

This time, folks, I just can't seem to come up with something to make you snicker, even just a little.

Victoria has fallen under Stage III of our Drought Contingency Plan as of Sept. 1 and is expected to remain in Stage III until river flows rise to the required levels. To put it into perspective, Victoria has never been past Stage II of the Drought Contingency Plan.

It's hard to believe at times, but having key staff members such as Jerry James, director of intergovernmental relations and Lynn Short, director of public works, only doors away makes reality a bit more tangible. Hearing the latest news about water, or the lack thereof, is hard to miss.

What does this mean to Victorians?

Rain in Victoria alone will not help us move out of Stage III. Rain showers in Victoria will only raise the river level for a very short period of time, most times as short as a few hours. Rain is needed all across the region, especially in areas in and around Kerrville where the Guadalupe River is literally dry.

So until that dearly needed rain comes, we must all reassess our daily practices to help combat water shortage.

Here is some important information about Stage III of the Drought Contingency Plan:

Stage III severe water shortage conditions: Watering with anything other than a hand-held hose with a shut-off nozzle, 5-gallon bucket or watering can or drip irrigation is restricted. Irrigation and landscaping is restricted to designated water days and further limited to the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight unless watered with the permitted methods listed in Stage II.

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.

Designated watering days: Sundays and Thursdays for customers with street addresses ending in even numbers (0, 2, 4, 6 or 8), and Saturdays and Wednesdays for water customers with street addresses ending in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7 or 9).

With water in such short supply these days, I believe Short couldn't have stressed it any better.

"We need to learn to practice water conservation at every opportunity."

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

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