Mayor Hopes Water Restrictions Work

Houston Mayor Annise Parker hopes the city's latest mandatory water restrictions cause residents to rethink how they use what's turning into a more scarce resource.

sunken sailboat
A sunken sailboat is exposed due to Lake Houston's low water levels

Earlier this week the city went from a voluntary water conservation plan to one that's mandatory. Residents and businesses can now only water yards and landscaping twice a week. They must also fix obvious water leaks within three days. Mayor Parker says she's hoping people cooperate and adjust their water usage, but there are consequences if they don't. 

"We are asking that everyone comply, everyone inform their neighbors, everyone use this as an opportunity for education,
but we do have the ability to give citations and to impose fines for people who, once informed, choose not to make any changes."   

Mayor Parker says she hopes the city doesn't have to implement the next level of mandatory conservation measures, which could include a complete ban on yard watering. She says, for now, the rules in place should be enough.

"We are not in as severe condition as many of our neighboring cities. We do have water in the reservoirs, although Lake Houston is at very low levels and we are now this week drawing down water from Lake Conroe to Lake Houston to stabilize lake levels." 

The city's parks department says it will reduce watering by 18-percent, including less water usage at city-operated golf courses and fountains.