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What you need to know about mandatory water restrictions in Houston

The city says fines will be possible for people who water their yards outside of the designated times.

The City of Houston is asking people to follow water restrictions as it deals with the drought. The city entered stage two of its drought contingency plan, which means changes to when you can water your yard.

Water management company Water Logic is sharing tips on how you can save water and save money, too.

The goal for the city is to reduce water usage by 10%. The changes impact more than 500,000 residential customers and more than 42,000 commercial accounts.

“The city of Houston will be out and seeing if people are complying, but neighbors will also be assisting in this process,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Thursday.

Water use is restricted except for the following time periods:

  • Between the hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • 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

Jeff O’Donnell at Water Logic said to think of the times as two windows for watering: one five-hour window in the morning and one five-hour window in the evening.

The City of Houston said that typically, more than five minutes of sprinkler use creates runoff into the street.

O’Donnell said the first step to ensuring your irrigation is running correctly.

“If it’s got broken lines and broken heads, you’re not putting out water where it needs to be, it’s going to be flooding one area and running off and wasting water,” O’Donnell said.

He recommends setting your controller to run during those permitted times and days of the week. It’s important to not run outdoor water outside of the allowed times.

During the day, O’Donnell estimates you can lose up to 70% of the water due to evaporation.

“When we have restrictions like this we’re trying to keep the city pressure up in the mains, you may notice pressure drops throughout the day and that’s because of the high demand that’s on it,” O’Donnell said.

Turner said that because of the drought conditions, the ground is so dry that it is causing pipes to break. The city has six contractors to address water leaks but plans to hire six additional teams to assist Public Works.

“If everybody reduces your usage or water within the requisite times, on those particular days. as we bring on the additional contractors, working with the internal crews, we’ll be able to get through the crisis,” Turner said.

The water restrictions begin on Sunday.

“We don’t control the timeline, it's controlled by Mother Nature,” Turner said.

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