On June 14, the Comal County Commissioners Court adopted an order to restrict the use of fireworks until drought conditions no longer exist.

The Keetch-Byram Drought Index, or KBDI, in Comal County reached 650 in June, according to a county press release, signaling the region is now in extreme drought conditions.

The KBDI is determined by the Texas A&M Forest Service through the use of temperature precipitation and is measured on a scale of 0-800 with 0 indicating no moisture depletion and 800 indicating completely dry conditions, according to the Texas Weather Connection website.

On April 22, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack declared the drought that began on Nov. 1, 2021 to be an agricultural disaster.

As a result of the ongoing conditions, the sale, detonation, ignition or use of fireworks classified as “skyrockets with sticks” or “missiles with fins” in the unincorporated areas of Comal County will not be permitted on or after June 24, according to the release.

"Due to the extreme drought and severe fire danger the county is experiencing and for the safety of our citizens and their property, we are restricting the sale and use of rockets with sticks and missiles with fins until the drought conditions no longer exist," said Comal County Fire Marshal Kory Klabunde in the release.

Any individual who knowingly or intentionally violates the order could be found guilty of a Class C Misdemeanor, according to the release. For more information, visit the county website or call the fire marshal’s office at 830-643-3748.

Stage 3 restrictions on the horizon

On June 13, New Braunfels Utilities announced that city officials had chosen not to declare Stage 3 water use restriction measures for the time being, according to a press release. The area entered Stage 2 restrictions on April 12.

Stage 3 restrictions are typically triggered when the Edwards Aquifer J-17 Well registers below 640-feet, which has not happened since 2015.

On June 13 the daily average hit 639.5 feet and the level was near 635 feet as of June 16, according to the Edwards Aquifer Authority.

Though the Edwards Aquifer reduces permitted withdrawals at each drought stage, NBU officials say the company has more than enough water to meet current demand.

"It is NBU's responsibility to inform and make recommendations to the Mayor of New Braunfels when drought conditions warrant entering the next Stage level. At this time, NBU has made a recommendation to the Mayor that we do not enter Stage 3," said Ian Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of NBU, in the release. "Since the drought of 2011-2014, NBU has diversified its water resources and nearly doubled the amount of water in our portfolio.”

According to NBU, the company had access to 26,682 acre-feet of water per year in 2017 and has increased its capacity to 50,375 acre-feet per year, representing an 88% increase in four years.

Additionally, conservation practices by area customers have reduced the average water consumption per day through conservative watering practices, Taylor said.

Though the city will not enter Stage 3 restrictions yet, Stage 2 restrictions remain in place and NBU officials will continue to monitor current conditions.

Under these restrictions, residents are permitted to use sprinkler or irrigation systems one day a week, according to the last number in their home address.

The use of hand-held hoses, buckets, soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems will be allowed on any day before 10 a.m. or after 8 p.m. Sprinkler and irrigation systems are not permitted on weekends.

Visit the NBU website for further information about watering stages, the drought contingency plan, conservation methods and more.