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CLWSC Warns of Possible Stage 1 Water Restrictions, Blames Landscape Irrigation

Water Operator Pedro Salazar takes a water sample from a filtration tank inside one of SJWTX's surface water treatment plants.

SJWTC, also known as Canyon Lake Water Service Corporation (CLWSC), said today it has not reached trigger points that would move the Canyon Lake area into Stage 1 water restrictions.

On Tuesday, June 16, New Braunfels Utilities (NBU) said barring significant rainfall, it would implement Stage 1 watering restrictions within the next few weeks.

Larry Jackson, manager of Customer Service & Communications for SJWTC, said Canyon Lake customers are still using its year-round watering schedule.

“However, recently we’ve seen a significant increase in demand due to landscape irrigation and with no significant rainfall predicted in the near future we may be moving to Stage 1 in the next several weeks,” he said.

No Variances for Builders and Developers

SJWTC is keeping an eye on a significant increase in demand due to landscape irrigation.

Its year-round watering schedule and Stage 1 water restrictions schedule are essentially the same, Jackson said. However, no irrigation variances will be approved during Stage 1 or any subsequent stages.

“Irrigation variances are available to customers who install new sod or landscaping and desire to irrigate for multiple days and are valid for two weeks in order to allow the landscape to get established,” he said. “With that said, we’re preparing a notification for our local builders and developers so they are aware once we enter any stage, no variances will be approved.”

Edwards Aquifer Dropping

In a press release, NBU said a recent rise in temperatures coupled with increased water demand has caused the Edwards Aquifer to drop one foot per day — or more — over the past 10 days.

The aquifer is the source of drinking water for two million people and the primary water supply for agriculture and industry in the aquifer’s region.

NBU said on June 16, the 10-day average of the J-17 well was 666.93 feet, nearly seven feet above the trigger for Stage 1 water restrictions.

“…we’ve seen a significant increase in demand due to landscape irrigation and with no significant rainfall predicted in the near future we may be moving to Stage 1 in the next several weeks.”

The J-17 index well was drilled in 1913 and is located near the national cemetery at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. According to EdwardsAquifer.net, it is on a major Edwards flow path and responds quickly to pumpage and recharge, making it ideal for recording changes in the aquifer’s level in the San Antonio area.

Levels range from 612 feet during the historic 1950s drought to 703 feet after historic rains in 1991 and 1992. To see water levels at J-17 as raw data in 15-minute intervals, click here. To review data about triggers, stages and withdrawal reductions, click here. To see historic data ranging from 1932 to May 2020, click here.

According to Edwards Aquifer.org, water levels are measured around the clock using different devices in monitoring wells throughout the aquifer.

“Water level data are used for many purposes, including as criteria for determining when to impose groundwater restrictions on aquifer users during droughts and understanding and appreciating our shared natural resource,” the site says.

Late Payment Charges Resume

Jackson also said SJWTC will reinstate late-payment charges on accounts that are past due with bills due on July 15.

In March, Texas Public Utilities Commission issued an order requiring utilities to waive late payment charges and stop non-payment disconnections during COVID-19.

“We encourage customers to contact us if they are experiencing any financial hardships so that we can set up a payment extension or payment plan,” he said.

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