Calls for conservation as temps soar

The ponds, at Buda's Bradfield Park, are still filled with water. On Friday recent improvements at the park were celebrated with a first cast from a new fishing pier. There may be an abundance of water now  but city officials have decided to put Buda back into Stage 1 water restrictions.

"Part of it is simply education people have gotten use to not having restrictions, when you get 12, to 13, inches of rainfall, you forget we don’t live in the tropics and in this case it’s an opportunity for help people understand your yard doesn’t need as much water as you may think it needs,” said Buda Planning Director Chance Sparks.

The rules in Buda are not harsh. The following was posted on the city website:

  • Waste of water is prohibited, including any of the following:
    • Failing to repair a controllable leak, including a broken sprinkler head, a leaking valve, leaking or broken pipes, or a leaking faucet; OR
    • Operation of a permanently installed irrigation system with a broken head, a head that is out of adjustment and the arc of the spray head is over a street or parking lot, or a head that is misting because of high water pressure; OR
    • Any irrigation that allows water to:
      • Run off a property and form a stream of water in a street, gutter, ditch, drain, creek or any other natural or man-made water course for a distance of 50 feet or greater; OR
      • Pond in a street or parking lot to a depth greater than one-quarter of an inch; OR
      • Run off from a property onto adjacent properties
  • Irrigation with sprinklers must adhere to the twice-per-week watering schedule, and only before 10am, and after 7pm:
    • Odd-Numbered Residential Addresses: Wednesday and/or Saturday
    • Even-Numbered Residential Addresses: Thursday and/or Sunday
    • Commercial, Mixed Use and Multifamily Properties: Tuesday and/or Friday
  • Irrigation with hand-held bucket, hand-held hose, soaker hose or drip is allowed on any day at any time
  • Residential vehicle washing must adhere to the same schedule and permitted hours as irrigation, and must use hand-held bucket or hand-held hose equipped with positive shut-off
  • Charity vehicle washing is allowed on any day at any time, but must use hand-held bucket or hand-held hose equipped with positive shut-off
  • Swimming pools may be operated and filled as normal.
  • Non-recirculating aesthetic water features are prohibited at all times; recirculating features are allowed
  • Washing of impervious surfaces is prohibited unless required for only health & safety reasons
  • Foundation watering is allowed any day at any time, but may not cause pooling or runoff

The call to conserve is not limited just to water in Buda. Residents throughout Texas are being asked to power down. ERCOT- which controls electricity in most of the state- issued an advisory - to reduce power consumption Thursday afternoon. A power plant had gone off line. Austin energy activated its jet engine turbines to feed the grid. Demand remained high on Friday but rolling blackouts are not anticipated.

"Typically in the afternoons we pick up all the units to full load capacity to meet the normal demand for this time of year. What are you anticipating for the next couple of days? We think it is going to be similar although it’s a little cloudy today so it will probably be a little less of a peak but we will probably put all the gas turbines on in the early afternoon and run the for 3 to 4 hours we expect,” said Decker Power Plant Manager Steve Wotruba.

At the temperature approached triple digits in the metro area- heat advisories were issued in Caldwell and Fayette counties. With more hot days expected - you can also expect more requests to conserve.

“One of the simplest things you can do is watching your thermostat. And raise it, keep it at 78° or raise it a degree or two that helps the entire grid,” said Austin Energy Spokesperson Carlos Cordova.

During the drought - residents were also urged to convert to what’s called Xeriscaping. City officials in Buda plan to re-launch that effort and may also provide special incentives for taking part in other conservation programs.

The City of Austin and Cedar park have been restricting water use for more than a year. Landscape watering in both cities is limited to once a week.

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