City Says Mandatory Water Conservation Appears To Be Working

It's been a few days since Houston implemented mandatory water restrictions and the city says so far, so good as it looks for ways to relieve a stressed distribution system.

The city says it's hard to tell exactly how much water the restrictions have saved, but officials do say pumpage numbers were up yesterday, one of the days residents are allowed to water their yards.

Alvin Wright is with the city's public works department and says for the most part, violations are the result of long-standing habits.

"What we're seeing for the most part are people who have had their sprinklers set at a certain time and day for months or for years. Now, they have to actually go out and re-learn their irrigation system timing mechanisms one more time and then make those adjustments. I think most folks are ready to make those adjustments to be a part of the conservation program." 

Wright says no citations have been handed out yet, but workers are keeping an eye on addresses in violation of the new rules, with the possibility of future fines. He says the restrictions will likely stay in place even if it rains because of the need to fix hundreds of water main breaks caused by the dry weather.

"We're about three times, almost three-and-a-half times more than what we've had in regards to water main breaks in previous years so for the most part, that conduit is still going to be in effect for a while. I think that once we get the
handle on that, we'll be in better shape."

Residents are now only allowed to water twice a week and only during the morning or late evening.