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TGR NEWS - September 2023

If you missed a previous issue of our newsletters, just click here to read and or download those issues.

Drought Stage Rules Explained

With Stage 3 drought restrictions getting closer, here’s a quick guide to understanding how various water agencies implement those restrictions.

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You’ve probably heard the phrases “drought stage restrictions“ and “critical period management.” Both refer to plans put in place by various governmental entities to help protect water resources as extended dry periods reduce the volume of available water.

 

Most water providers like San Antonio Water System and other municipalities throughout the Edwards Aquifer region have drought management plans. Local media outlets let people know each night what drought stage the area is in and how they should reduce water use to include watering landscapes once a week or less.

The Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District (TGR), like all groundwater districts in Texas, have drought management plans as well that incorporate varying degrees of water use restrictions needed as aquifer levels in the Trinity Aquifer decline. Not all drought plans are the same and so many people wonder which guidelines to follow. Here’s a very basic rule of thumb that should help.

If you live in the TGR district boundaries (Northern Bexar County outside Loop 1604), but are a SAWS or other water provider customer, you should follow your water provider’s water use restriction rules. If you are a well owner in the TGR district, you should follow the TGR guidelines.

The primary reason that drought plans and watering restrictions can vary from entity to entity is that some water suppliers have invested in developing multiple sources of water. That means they can meet groundwater withdrawal cutbacks while not requiring customers to move into harsher watering restrictions because the water utility has other water resources to draw from.

Currently, the Trinity Glen Rose District is still in Stage 2 of its drought restrictions rules. However, the District is getting close to declaring Stage 3 water restrictions. Here are the measures home and business owners will need to follow during Stage 3.

STAGE 3: EXTREME DROUGHT

 

Water Use Restrictions: All requirements of Stage 1 and 2 shall remain in effect during Stage 3 with the following modifications applicable to persons using groundwater from non-exempt wells, other than customers of public water supply systems:

 

1. Non-exempt well users shall reduce their water usage by 15% of the same calendar month during the previous calendar year. Reduction will be based on reported monthly usage for the prior year’s same month provided by the non-exempt well owner.

 

2. Aesthetic fountains are discouraged, unless an alternative source of water other than groundwater is used.

 

3. Irrigation with an irrigation system or sprinkler should be limited to the hours between 7a.m. and 11 a.m., or 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the designated watering day every other week.

 

4. Use of a handheld hose, drip irrigation system or 5 gallon bucket on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 7a.m. and 11 a.m., or 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. is encouraged.

 

5. Waste and non-essential water use, as defined under Texas Water Code, Chapter 36, and TGR District Chapter 4 Definitions, is prohibited.

 

You can download all of the Trinity Glen Rose District drought restriction rules by clicking here.

 

In addition following local drought guidelines, here are some great tips for saving water every day.

 

Top 5 Indoor Conservation Recommendations

 

  1. Fix leaks in plumbing and at toilets.

  2. Wait for a full load of clothes before running washing machine.

  3. Take short showers.

  4. Run the dishwasher only when full.

  5. Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.

 

Top 5 Outdoor Water Conservation Recommendations

 

  1. Water wisely… one inch of water, once a week, should be sufficient for your lawn.

  2. When landscaping utilize drought tolerant and native plants or even Xeriscape.

  3. Adjust Sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.

  4. Water in the morning and evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.

  5. Put mulch around trees and shrubs.

Go Gardening Visits Cibolo Nature Center to Give Viewers Ideas for Fall Planting
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Yes, it is still unbelievably hot outside, but fall is just around the corner and that should bring some cooler days and nights and also a great opportunity to update your landscape.

“Fall is the best time to plant new native plants because there will be time for the new plants’ roots to become well-established before cold weather hits,” said Mark Peterson, Go Gardening host. “It also means the new plants will be ready to bloom in the spring. That makes September is the perfect time to plan to plant. Now is the time to look at taking out some of that high water use turfgrass and plan to upgrade your landscape with low water use native plants. We encourage homeowners to do a little bit at a time, but starting the transition to native plants is very important to help save water while creating landscapes that look like South Texas. The Cibolo Nature Center has some great examples of the types of native plants that can provide beautiful color to your yard. We would suggest you watch this segment of Go Gardening and then plan to visit the Cibolo Nature Center.”

In addition to learning about the Cibolo Nature Center, we checked in with one of our favorite native plant experts, Haeley Giambalvo, to see what plants she suggests for shady and sunny parts of the landscape.

Go Gardening is produced by partners Trinity Glen Rose District and Gardening Volunteers of South Texas to expand the mission of conserving water in local aquifers like the Trinity Aquifer by teaching homeowners how to convert turfgrass areas to low-to-no water use landscapes featuring native plants.

 

You can watch Go Gardening at: www.TrinityGlenRose.com/gogardening.

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Did you know…

The subsurface area of the Trinity Aquifer is 21,308 square miles. It lies below 61 Texas counties and 88 percent of this very large water resource is managed by groundwater districts. The portion of the Trinity Aquifer that is found mostly in Northern Bexar County is managed by the Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District.

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Download the Trinity Glen Rose District 2022 Annual Report 
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The Trinity Glen Rose Groundwater Conservation District published its 2022 Annual Report after TGR board approval in April.

The 2022 Annual Report provides good background on the:

  •  purpose of the district

  •  district goals

  •  current leadership

  •  well monitoring work

  •  financial position, and

  •  community outreach programs

You can download the 2022 TGR Annual Report here.

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