Drought said to continue into 2013

Water restrictions still in effect for Georgetown

Despite pumping water in September from Lake Stillhouse Hollow to maintain water levels, Lake Georgetown remains in a Stage 1 Drought Watch.

The Brazos River Authority declared the watch Nov. 19 because of continued dry conditions in the upper portion of the Brazos basin, according to a BRA news release. A Stage 1 Drought Watch has also been declared for Possum Kingdom, Granbury, Whitney and Proctor lakes throughout the state.

With the watch, the BRA is aiming to decrease overall water consumption from each lake by at least 5 percent and increase awareness about drought conditions. It is also asking customers such as the cities of Georgetown and Round Rock to activate their drought contingency plans, raise public awareness on how to reduce water use and notify their customers about any contingency steps being taken, the release said.

The City of Georgetown has enforced mandatory outdoor water use restrictions for residents for the past two years because of continued drought conditions. The city restricts sprinklers and irrigation systems from being used more than three times per week. Residents whose addresses end in an odd number are allowed to use their systems on Tuesday and/or Thursday and/or Saturday, and addresses ending in an even number may water on Wednesday and/or Friday and/or Sunday. Watering is prohibited from 10 a.m.–7 p.m. No sprinkler or irrigation watering is allowed on Mondays, but hand-watering with a hose and washing of vehicles can be done at any time on any day. Increased water utilities fees can also be charged if a customer uses more than an allotted amount of water per month. Georgetown City Council discussed making the restrictions permanent at its Jan. 8 meeting and plans to have a first reading of the restrictions on Jan. 22.

"In the summer months in Georgetown, as much as two-thirds of our daily water consumption is used for lawn watering," Public Communications Manager Keith Hutchinson said. "Given the drought we have been experiencing and the fact that Lake Georgetown is 15 feet below the full level right now, we know that additional water conservation is needed. The City Council [considered] modifications to our water conservation and drought plans ... that help to address the concern. Proposed modifications include year-round irrigation limits, rate changes and changes to enforcement of watering rules."

According to the BRA, Lake Georgetown was 59 percent full as of Jan. 2. While spokeswoman Judi Pierce said the BRA has no predictions on how the drought watch could change during 2013, it estimates the lake needs to receive 6–9 inches of rain to pull out of drought conditions.

[Correction: We incorrectly listed the watering days for Georgetown water utility customers. Customers with addresses ending in odd numbers may water on Tuesday and/or Thursday and/or Saturday, and customers with addresses ending in even numbers may water on Wednesday and/or Friday and/or Sunday.]

By Korri Kezar
Korri Kezar graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2011 with a degree in journalism. She worked for Community Impact Newspaper's Round Rock-Pflugerville-Hutto edition for two years before moving to Dallas. Five years later, she returned to the company to launch Community Impact Newspaper's Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth edition, where she covers local government, development, transportation and a variety of other topics. She has also worked at the San Antonio Express-News, Austin-American Statesman and Dallas Business Journal.


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