Katy elevates drought conditions to ‘severe,’ requires mandatory water restrictions

Katy elevates drought conditions to ‘severe,’ requires mandatory water restrictions

The city of Katy has implemented mandatory restrictions for water usage due to an unprecedented level of water demand, according to an Aug. 5 press release. The increased demand has escalated drought conditions to a Stage 3, or severe level, per the city’s drought contingency plan.

Two triggers initiated the Stage 3 level. One was the total daily water demand exceeded 85% of total water well pumpage for three consecutive days, beginning Aug. 1.

The city of Katy’s water supply capacity is 10.16 million gallons per day. According to a letter to City Administrator Byron Hebert from the city’s engineering group ARKK Engineers, the summary of daily water demand from Aug. 1-5 was as follows:

  • Aug. 1-2: 9 million, or 88.58% capacity
  • Aug. 2-3: 8.8 million, or 86.61% capacity
  • Aug. 3-4: 9.2 million, or 90.55% capacity
  • Aug. 4-5: 9.1 million, or 89.57% capacity

Meanwhile, the water supply system was unable to deliver water due to the failure or damage of major water system components, wrote David Kasper, principal and senior project manager for ARKK Engineers.

Elaborating further, Kasper wrote that the level of groundwater submergence of several of the city’s seven water well pumps is “of particular concern.”

“As the groundwater levels have fallen, the well pump submergence has reached critical levels in two of the city’s water wells,” Kasper wrote. “If water demand is not reduced, it is predicted that within two weeks the city will need to reduce pumpage or otherwise will risk damage and failure of two of the city’s well pumps.”

Mayor Dusty Thiele took into consideration the integrity of the city’s wells, which have been running continuously since spring while battling extreme heat conditions and lack of rain, according to the release.

Mandatory restrictions for residents and businesses are as follows:

  • limit landscape watering to a twice per week schedule with the exception of foundations and new plantings such as first-year trees and shrubs, which may be watered for up to two hours on any day by a handheld hose or soaker hose;
  • prohibit hosing of paved areas, buildings, windows and any hard-surfaced areas;
  • prohibit operation of ornamental fountains;
  • prohibit washing or rinsing of vehicles by hose;
  • prohibit using water in such a manner as to allow runoff or other waste;
  • prohibit no new establishment of landscaping; and
  • prohibit the acceptance of new pool plan submittals.

Addresses with digits ending with an even number are limited to landscape watering either from midnight-8 a.m. or 8-11:59 p.m. on Sundays and Thursdays. Addresses with digits ending in an odd number are limited to watering on Saturdays and Wednesdays during the same time frame. Commercial businesses, residential homeowners associations, green space, and right-of-way businesses and entities are limited to watering on Tuesdays and Fridays. All watering is prohibited on Mondays for storage recovery.

Katy’s public works administration will review the drought contingency plan after measurable rainfall when considering whether to lift the Stage 3 drought conditions, though at this time, there is no established timeframe, according to the city’s website.

Violations to the mandatory restrictions may result in enforcement action, which includes a written warning, a citation between $100-$2,000 or disconnection of water service—subject to appeal.

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