HOUSTON - Houston is turning off fountains and cutting back on water usage after the city issued mandatory water restrictions.
City Council approved moving to stage 2 of the city's water conservation plan on Monday because of the drought and continuously decreasing water levels in Lake Houston. Residents face fines if they water outside the approved times and more than twice a week.
The city has 25 water fountains using tens of thousands of gallons of water a day. On Wednesday, officials said 17 fountains will be turned off for the duration of the restrictions.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department said turning off the fountains will save more than 48,000 gallons of water per day.
The city's 38 pools will close for fall, which will mean a savings of 21,246 gallons a day. Seventeen pools closed on Monday and 19 pools will close on Sept. 6.
More than 160 parks, libraries and sports fields will have limited irrigation, which is expected to lower water consumption by 553,500 gallons each day.
Eight golf courses will also be watered less to save 111,000 gallons.
More than 125,000 gallons will be saved by cutting back on the watering for 20 city flower beds.
All of the measures should save 859,265 gallons of a water a day, which is an 18 percent decrease for the Parks and Recreation Department, officials said.
According to city ordinances, during stage 2, the city will establish a 10 percent water consumption reduction for all city departments.
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 of $150 to $300.
The city also began taking water from Lake Conroe to stabilize the water levels in Lake Houston. The city has a two-thirds share in the water rights and began taking 50 million gallons per day beginning Tuesday.
Water Conservation Tips
Officials provided tips to reduce water use:
- Keep showers under five minutes.
- Turning water off while brushing teeth could save up to 4 gallons a minute.
- Wash only full loads of dishes or clothing.
- Replace older-model shower heads and faucets.
- Check toilets for leaks. Fixing a leaky toilet could save 73,000 gallons a year
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 or anyone who spots violators should call 311.
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