City of Houston to enter stage 2 of Drought Contingency Plan; announces new restrictions on outdoor watering

HOUSTON – The city of Houston is encouraging residents to conserve water due to an increased demand for water and pipe issues due to the extreme summer weather conditions, city officials shared on social media.

“The intense heat and drop in annual rainfall have dried up the soil, causing a shift in water lines. When the pipes shift, the pipe joints can break, causing water leaks. The aging, brittle water lines are also more susceptible to failure,” said Houston Public Works, which manages the city’s water distribution.

The city said they are checking on the water system regularly. There is also a high demand because more people are using water and there have been more water leaks.

The city is using emergency purchase orders to allow more contractors to help them take care of water leaks.

On Wednesday, the city announced they will be entering stage two of the Drought Contingency Plan, effective August 27.

“The Drought Contingency Plan calls for Stage Two mandatory water conservation measures when the significant drop in annual rainfall and higher-than-normal daily temperatures lead to continued stress on the water system,” the city said in a news release. “Houston Public Works has recommended the implementation of a Stage Two designation of the Drought Contingency Plan for the entire City, including systems that are supplied by groundwater only.”

During stage two, outdoor water use will be restricted except for the following time periods:

  • Between the hours of 7PM and 5AM with the following schedule:
  • Sundays and Thursdays for single-family residential customers with even-numbered street addresses
  • Saturdays and Wednesdays for single-family residential customers with odd-numbered street addresses
  • Tuesdays and Fridays for all other customers

The city said water customers who violate the watering times will be issued a written warning for a first-time violation. Any subsequent violations are subject to a fine up to $2,000 for each occurrence of the offense.

“Houston Public Works asks the public to please do your part in helping us reduce citywide water use,” said Houston Public Works Director, Carol Haddock. “Our goal is to reduce water usage from all customers by 10%. Our crews are working diligently in conjunction with area contractors to repair water leaks across the city.”

Water customers are also reminded to continue everyday efforts to prevent the loss of water:

  • Check and repair water leaks, including dripping faucets and running toilets
  • Check sprinkler heads to make sure water is not spraying into the street or directly into a storm drain and/or gutters. Typically, more than 5 minutes of sprinkler use creates runoff into the street.
  • Run dishwashers and washing machines only when full
  • Take shorter showers

Houston has been in stage one of the Drought Contingency Plan since June 2022. If you see a water leak, you should call 311.

About the Author:

Cynthia Miranda graduated from UT Austin and is a proud Houstonian. She is passionate about covering breaking news and community stories. Cynthia previously covered elections, the historic 2021 Texas winter storm, and other news in East Texas. In addition to writing, she also loves going to concerts, watching movies, and cooking with her family.