HOUSTON – The city of Houston issued mandatory water conservation measures on Monday.
City Council has approved moving to stage 2 of the city's water conservation plan because of the drought and continuously decreasing water levels in Lake Houston.
Under stage 2, residents must have all detectable leaks repaired within 72 hours.
Houston residents are only allowed to water between 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. Homeowners with even-numbered addresses are allowed to water on Sundays and Thursdays, while odd-numbered addresses are allowed to water on Saturdays and Wednesdays.
Watering during times other than those specified may result in fines.
"For those who insist on not being good neighbors, citations will follow," Mayor Annise Parker said.
It's news Edgar Villa knew nothing about when KPRC Local 2 caught him breaking the new law.
"Personally, I don't agree. But, for the good of the city, it's OK," said Villa.
"I would have watered heavily yesterday if I would've known I was going to be restricted today," Rosemary Sell said.
Some said the requirement to fix leaks promptly isn't fair.
"The city is not fixing our water leaks, but they're taking our water away from us," said Sell.
City officials said there are about 40 crews out working on burst water mains.
The city also issued notice to the San Jacinto River Authority that it will be taking water from Lake Conroe. The city has a two-thirds share in the water rights and will be taking 50 million gallons per day beginning Tuesday. The amount will gradually be increased to 150 million gallons per day, which is about 1/2-inch of the lake's level per day.
City officials provided tips to reduce water use:
- Keep showers under five minutes.
- Turn water off while brushing teeth.
- Wash only full loads of dishes or clothing.
- Replace older-model shower heads and faucets.
- Check toilets for leaks.
The city has taken steps to conserve water, including:
- suspending scheduled window washing
- suspending scheduled power washing of buildings, sidewalks and parking areas
- discontinuing washing city vehicles and equipment, except for health, safety or critical maintenance reasons
- ordering an audit of all irrigation systems for leaks and ensure proper operation of timers and sprinkler heads
Anyone with questions about the water restrictions should call 311 for answers.