Houston To Tighten Conservation Efforts By Restricting Residents' Water Usage

Without the extreme heat and dry weather easing up any time soon, Houston will enforce water use restrictions.
Without the extreme heat and dry weather easing up any time soon, Houston will enforce water use restrictions. Photo by Faith Bugenhagen
As temperatures continue to soar above 100 degrees and a lack of rain leaves lawns dry, Houston will activate Stage 2 of its drought contingency plan at the end of the week. Houston to Activate Stage 2 of Its Drought Contingency Plan

This comes after Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said that city officials were considering implementing the mandatory restrictions at Wednesday's City Council meeting due to the extreme heat causing water main breaks and pressure-related issues.

Since last year, Houston has been under Stage 1 of the city’s drought contingency plan, which calls for voluntary water conservation measures. Stage 2 – which goes into effect Sunday – will require residents to abide by outdoor watering schedules.

Those who violate these mandatory restrictions will receive a written warning the first time. Any subsequent reports could leave individuals facing a fine of up to $2,000 per incident.

Residents who live in houses with even-numbered street addresses will water on Sundays and Thursdays. Those who reside at homes with odd-numbered street addresses will water on Saturdays and Wednesdays between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.

All the other city water customers can water their lawns on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Residents are asked to check for leaks (including dripping faucets or running toilets), make sure sprinkler heads are not spraying into the street or storm drain, run appliances when the load is full, and take short showers.

Houston Public Works recommended upgrading the drought contingency plan to Stage 2 for the entire city, including systems supplied by groundwater only.

A drought contingency plan goes into effect when the lack of rainfall mixed with higher-than-normal daily temperatures leads to stress on a city’s water system. By enforcing these restrictions, Houston hopes to reduce water usage by 10 percent.

Houston is not the only city that recently tightened its voluntary water restrictions. Katy was previously in Stage 2 of its drought contingency plan and entered into Stage 3 last week. Pearland activated Stage 1 of its plan the previous week.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Faith Bugenhagen is on staff as a news reporter for The Houston Press, assigned to cover the Greater-Houston area.