HOUSTON – Concerns about water pressure in Houston’s distribution lines prompted the city to implement Stage 1 of their water shortage plan Friday afternoon, Mayor Annise Parker said.
Parker said while there was an adequate water supply in the city’s reservoirs, there were problems with water pressure in the 7,000 miles of distribution lines that run throughout the city.
In the Stage 1 plan, citizens are asked to voluntarily conserve their water use with the goal of reducing the city’s water consumption by 10 percent.
Residents are asked not to water their lawns in the heat of the day, and to refrain from non-essential water use, such as washing cars or boats.
According to the Stage 1 plan, residents should only water their lawns two days a week – Sundays and Thursdays for even-numbered street addresses and Saturdays and Wednesdays for odd-numbered street addresses.
Parker said those measures apply to the city, too – particularly the Parks and Recreation Department.
"We are committed to maintaining our tree canopy, and we will be watering our trees as appropriate to prevent tree loss," Parker said. "But just as we’re asking the private sector, we’re going to be doing it early in the day, into the evening, trying not to water in the heat of the day and being very mindful about how we use water."
Parker said it’s also important for residents to be vigilant about reporting water main breaks.
As of Friday, there were 500 open main breaks, and crews were working to get them repaired as quickly as possible to prevent drops in water pressure.
"We’re in an ‘all hands on deck’ situation. We’re putting all available resources into leak repair," Parker said.
The mayor said when main breaks occur on the property owner’s side of the water meter, they should call a plumber. When they occur on the city’s side of the water meter, residents should call the city as soon as possible.
While the epidemic of water main breaks is serious, Public Works Director Daniel Krueger said it’s still not as severe as what Houston saw in 2000.
That summer, there were thousands of water main breaks across the city.