Katy calls on everyone to conserve water as drought conditions advance toward ‘critical stage’

KATY, Texas – Katy is asking its residents to conserve water under a stage 2 drought condition.

“It is very critical right now – we need people to help us conserve and save water,” said city council member Chris Harris.

In multiple Facebook posts, the city said it needs help as “drought conditions are getting to a critical stage with not getting any substantial rainfall since the end of May.”

Katy initially posted about dire water issues on July 11 and again on Thursday.

“We are needing HOAs, commercial businesses, and residents to please reduce irrigating, as water reports are showing that the majority usage of water is from irrigation,” a post on reads. “The city is asking for everyone to participate in conserving water, it will take everyone to make a difference!”

The Katy City Council held a special meeting Thursday and unanimously approved changes to how the City responds to drought conditions. The revised drought contingency plans make it clearer when residents can water their lawns and change the penalty for violating mandatory conservation guidelines.

“We want to be more specific so we can tell residents with a certain address, or if you’re a commercial business, or if you’re an HOA, that you can water on these days,” Harris said.

Under the old rules, Stage 2 drought conditions suggested residents irrigate three days per week but didn’t specify which three days.

The new recommendations for water conservation under Stage 2 specify which three days of the week based on the last digit of a resident’s address.

  • Even number: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday
  • Odd number: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday
  • Community/HOA: Wednesday, Friday, Sunday

Stage 3, which is mandatory water conservation, would reduce watering to two days per week based on a resident’s address and limit all watering on Mondays. The penalty for violating this rule twice could result in a fine of up to $2,000 or possible disconnection of water service.

  • Even number: Sunday and Thursday
  • Odd number: Saturday and Wednesday
  • Community/HOA: Tuesday and Friday

The new Stage 4 rules are also mandatory and reduce watering to only once per week. The day of the week is also based on the last digit of a resident’s address and comes with the same penalty for violating.

  • Tuesday: 1, 3
  • Wednesday: 0,2
  • Thursday: 5, 7
  • Friday: 4, 6
  • Saturday: 8, 9
  • Sunday: Community/HOA

All of the new rules only allow watering between 12 to 8 a.m. or 8 to 11:59 p.m. and take effect in 15 days, Harris said.

The council on Thursday also unanimously approved a measure to ask the West Harris County Regional Water Authority to speed up construction on a pipeline that would bring an additional 3.6 million gallons of water per day to Katy, about a 30% increase.

“Water is a critical, everyday need, and it’s something that’s going to be a critical issue in the future. So everybody, please help us out,” Harris said.

Residents like Steven Dornak are abiding by the Stage 2 drought condition request to reduce water usage.

“If we run short, then it’s just, it’s bad. Everybody suffers,” he said. “Myself and all the neighbors, we’re compliant, because we don’t need a shortage of water.”

But it’s his homeowner’s association that’s frustrating Dornak, as sprinklers are continuing to run for long periods of time in common areas of the neighborhood, amid the city’s urgent plea to cut back.

“You want everything when you’re coming in to look pretty. But there comes a point when you’ve got to go, ‘OK, we’ve got to stop watering, because we’re putting everybody else in a bind,’” Dornak said.

The Katy City Administrator told KPRC 2 that he’s monitoring water usage every single morning to determine if the city needs to move to Stage 3 drought conditions, which would entail mandatory water conservation among residents.

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.