Houston Begins Water-Shortage Plan: Take Shorter Showers, People

Mayor Annise Parker announced today the city will be implementing Stage 1 of its water-shortage plan, which calls for residents to make some changes in their routines.

Among them: Showers should be no longer than five minutes. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. And turn on those sprinklers only on designated days.

The city's reservoir, which gets fed from the parts of the state that have gotten relatively wet, has adequate water levels, but the many miles of distribution pipes are experiencing problems with water pressure, the mayor said. Parched ground has been causing ground shifts which have triggered water main breaks throughout the city.

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The city will be taking its own conservation steps, she said.

"We are committed to maintaining our tree canopy, and we will be watering our trees as appropriate to prevent tree loss," Parker said. "But just as we're asking the private sector, we're going to be doing it early in the day, into the evening, trying not to water in the heat of the day and being very mindful about how we use water."

Here are the volunteer guidelines. Stage 2 would make some of these mandatory, but we don't think city workers are going to be coming in to time your showers.

-- Even-numbered addresses should only water on Sundays and Thursdays. -- Odd-numbered addresses should only water on Saturdays and Wednesdays. -- Watering should only take place between 12:01 a.m. and 10 a.m. or between 8 p.m and midnight.

The tips the city would like you to start implementing:

-- Keep showers under five minutes. (Adjust any in-shower sexual practices accordingly, we guess.) -- Turn water off while brushing teeth -- Wash only full loads of dishes or clothing -- Replace older-model shower heads and faucets -- Check toilets for leaks

Next week, by the way, offers at least the chance of some rain.

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