Woodlands starts mandatory water restrictions
Property owners in The Woodlands are now under a mandatory lawn watering restriction due to extreme drought conditions and excessive lawn irrigation.
Citing severe water shortage conditions, The Woodlands Joint Powers Agency announced Aug. 11 that it is taking immediate action to conserve water use within the 11 Municipal Utility Districts it manages.
Residential and commercial water demands exceeded 90 percent of capacity for three consecutive days at one or more of the seven water-production sites serving The Woodlands, according to an agency statement issued mid-afternoon. Excessive water use mainly occurred due to lawn irrigation.
"Lawn watering restrictions are now mandatory," said TWJPA General Manager James Stinson.
Lawns must follow an odd/even-watering schedule established by the utility management agency. Those with property addresses that end in an odd number are asked to water their lawns on Saturday and Wednesday of each week. Those with an even address are asked to water lawns on Sunday and Thursday.
Residents who fail to comply with mandatory restrictions could face up to $200 in fines per violation. Warnings would be issued to violators first to make sure they are aware of any mandatory restrictions, Stinson said.
"Agency staff would enforce mandatory water restrictions through observation," Stinson said.
Property owners who have a programmable controller should reset their system to the agency's odd/even watering schedule and water no more than twice a week. All watering cycles must be complete by 4 a.m., Stinson said.
Stinson estimated 80 percent of water used in The Woodlands is for lawn care of which he said half that amount — 300 to 600 million gallons - is wasted each summer. Proper adherence to the schedule could save more than 5 million gallons of water per day, according to the agency, yet still allow local turf grasses to survive the drought.
TWJPA hosts WaterOddEven.com that provides information on caring for lawns while conserving water. Over-watering, according to the site, is the biggest threat to growing a drought-resistant lawn.
Limited rainfall and 100-degree temperatures have also created a "haven" for chinch bugs, Stinson said. The bugs must be treated separately as watering will not cure the problem, he added.
The agency is also asking restaurants to get involved in spreading the message of water conservation by only serving water to customers who specifically request it to drink.
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