As drought conditions worsen in Houston, city officials are preparing to ramp up outdoor water use restrictions to reduce stress on the city's water system.

The main takeaway

Houston will enter Stage 2 of the its drought contingency plan Aug. 27, according to an Aug. 23 news release, a move trigged by low rainfall levels and higher-than-normal daily temperatures.

During Stage 2, outdoor water use is restricted to between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. on the following schedule:
  • Sundays and Thursdays for single-family residential customers with even-numbered street addresses
  • Saturdays and Wednesdays for single-family residential customers with odd-numbered street addresses
  • Tuesdays and Fridays for all other customers
The restrictions will go into place citywide, including systems that are supplied by groundwater only, according to the release. Water customers who violate the restrictions will be issued a written warning for a first-time violation and are subject to a fine of up to $2,000 for each subsequent violation.

What they're saying

“Houston Public Works asks the public to please do your part in helping us reduce citywide water use,” Houston Public Works Director Carol Haddock said in the release. “Our goal is to reduce water usage from all customers by 10%. Our crews are working diligently in conjunction with area contractors to repair water leaks across the city.”

Looking back

Many cities in the Greater Houston area enacted their drought contingency plans in 2022 amid a similar lack of rainfall and high temperatures. However, the city of Houston remained in Stage 1 of its plan during that time, calling only for voluntary restrictions. The last time the city enacted Stage 2 of its plan was during the drought of 2011.

Learn more

Officials also released the following advice aimed at reducing water waste:
  • Check and repair water leaks, including dripping faucets and running toilets.
  • Check sprinkler heads to make sure water is not spraying into the street or a storm drain.
  • Run dishwashers and washing machines only when full.
  • Take shorter showers.