The City of Canyon has initiated the process of ramping up its drought contingency plan to include watering restrictions, as one of its elevated water tanks remains out of service and the area continues to battle through dry conditions.
Officials said during the drought of 2011-12, the city implemented Stage 1 of its drought contingency plan, which is designed to increase public awareness of water conservation measures, heighten public notification of Stage 1 conditions and encourage implementation of voluntary water conservation measures.
Now it’s time for Stage 2, officials said, which includes watering restrictions and the elimination of non-essential water use.
“The drought contingency plan is required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,” Canyon City Manager Randy Criswell said. “The east elevated tank is currently out of service. That’s a half million gallons of elevated storage we do not have today. Does that place a strain on our system? No. Does is it put a strain on our demand? No. Are we going to have a problem if everyone begins to water their yards at once? No. But if something else went out of service, we might.”
Criswell said the drought contingency plan is a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality-mandated document required of public water systems with more than 3,300 connections – noting its basic purpose is for water systems to have a regulatory avenue to protect the public health, water supply and facilities in instances of drought, other water supply interruptions or emergencies and to minimize the adverse effects to the water supply during these types of events.
“Right now our concern is our system is partially out of service,” he said. “It’s important for us to take some proactive measures to address those concerns. We’ll get the word out with mailers, Facebook and the website to share that message with the public.
Officials said after sufficiently informing the public of the contingency plan upgrade, Stage 2 would transition to mandatory even / odd watering days. Criswell said restricting irrigation to certain times of the day is also part of the plan:
•Monday: No irrigation allowed
•Tuesday: Odd numbers (1,3,5,7,9)
•Wednesday: Even numbers (0,2,4,6,8)
•Thursday: Odd numbers
•Friday: Even numbers
•Saturday: Odd numbers
•Sunday: Even numbers
According to the Stage 2 initiative, watering will be allowed once per day, during the hours of 8 p.m. to midnight or midnight to 10 a.m., on designated days. Hand-watering will be allowed for a maximum duration of one hour per day, any day of the week, and use of a hose end sprinkler is considered to be irrigation and subject to the watering schedule.
Criswell said Stage 2 does have penalties for violations, with violators issued an initial warning and further violations carrying a potential fine of $50 to $500 per day, which will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Residents can apply for an exception, such as recent installation of new sod.
Canyon resident Cyril Green said while he is in agreement with the Stage 2 phase being implemented, his concern is enforcement.
“I’m all for this,” he said. “But I just hope the city can stay on top of who is minding the letter of the rule and who isn’t. We have to be mindful of our water supply, whether we’re in a drought or not. I hope we all work together as a community to make sure we get through this thing as smoothly as possible.”