Drought’s the Norm, Water’s Not
This is day two of Stage 2 water restrictions for customers of Canyon Lake Water Service Company (CLWSC), and Annalisa Peace, executive director of Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance (GEAA), said those who move to the arid Texas Hill Country would do well to remember that Canyon Lake is prone to cyclical droughts.
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She said in an interview July 5 that hard choices lie ahead for local government, as municipalities will be forced to decide between securing additional water supplies, which will be expensive, or adopting strict regulations to conserve water.
On Tuesday, residents of Vintage Oaks subdivisions found their water supply temporarily shut off, and CLWSC blamed the shutoff on noncompliance with drought restrictions in phone messages and emails.
Peace remembers the dry summer of 2005, when residents in Fair Oaks Ranch, located in Comal, Bexar and Kendall Counties, over-watered their lawns and overwhelmed the water system, shutting it down.
The city subsequently adopted water conservation rules encouraging residents to protect and conserve water at all times.
“Texas has had droughts for as long as we have been keeping records,” she said. “Many of the citizens who are moving to our area are not aware that we have cyclical droughts so, they plant landscapes that are not drought tolerant. The sheer number of people moving to our area are going to stress water supplies, even with conservation measures in place.”
St. Augustine grass — originally from Florida and suited to cultivation in tropical and subtropical regions with lots of rainfall — is the bane of conservationists’ existence in Central Texas.
“Were it up to me, we would just prohibit planting of St. Augustine grass throughout our region,” she said.
GEAA received state funding to work with City of Boerne and the Cow Creek Groundwater District to teach homeowners to conserve and protect Trinity Aquifer Groundwater Supplies.
A 2012 manual published by the groundwater district stresses the importance of conserving, capturing, and keeping water clean:
- Conserve water means changing water culture from one that takes and uses water for granted and freely wastes it to a new water culture that considers it prices;
- Capture water by harvesting rain so homeowners and businesses achieve water independence even in periods of drought;
- Clean means protecting water underground and in reservoirs by minimizing pollutants in yards, on rangelands and on streets and by constructing and maintaining wells and septic systems properly.