For the first time since April 2011, San Marcos and the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer have moved out of the Stage 1 critical management period.

San Marcos Public Services Director Tom Taggart announced Feb. 13 that the city was lifting Stage 1 restrictions after the Edwards Aquifer Authority declared the region out of the Stage 1 period.

The EAA's management rules are based on aquifer levels as measured in the San Antonio J17 Index Well.

With the Stage 1 restrictions lifted, residents may return to year-round watering rules, which prohibit wasting water or watering with sprinklers between 10 a.m.–8 p.m.

Residents may water on any day before or after those hours.

According to the city, other year-round rules include:

Watering with hand-held buckets, hand-held hose or drip irrigation is allowed any time.

Charity car washes are prohibited unless at certified car wash businesses.

Normal use of swimming pools

Non-recirculating decorative water features are prohibited.

Washing paved surfaces is allowed for health and safety purposes.

The EAA lifted Stage 1 regional restrictions after the index well in San Antonio recorded a 10-day average aquifer reading above 660 feet above sea level Feb. 10.

City officials reminded residents that if the current rainfall were to end, restrictions could return.

Stage 1 restrictions are activated when the index well reads lower than 660 feet above sea level for a 10-day average.

In June 2011, the city enacted Stage 2 restrictions, which limited outdoor watering to once per week during specified hours.

The city's drought response rules will return to the attention of City Council members in coming weeks for consideration of possible amendments.