Houston mulls water restrictions as drought worsens
It's a scorcher once again, and a dry one to boot.
Driving the news: Houston officials are closely monitoring the worsening drought conditions to determine if they should enact mandatory water restrictions.
- Any significant chances of rain will be few and far between in the coming week, meteorologists say.
Why it matters: The lack of rain is increasing drought across the Lone Star State, including in the Houston region.
- Nearly 10% of Harris County is under severe drought conditions, mostly in its far southeastern communities. The rest of the county remains in moderate drought or is abnormally dry.
State of play: Houston has been under Stage 1 of its drought contingency plan since June 2022, according to Houston Public Works spokesperson Erin Jones.
- Under Stage 1, the city asks residents to voluntarily water yards only twice a week between 7pm and 5am and is looking for a 5% reduction in water demand.
- Under Stage 2, the city makes those watering restrictions mandatory and looks for a 10% reduction.
- Officials are closely monitoring the situation to determine if the city needs to move to Stage 2.
Flashback: The last time the city went into Stage 2 restrictions was in 2011 during one of the worst droughts in Texas history, Jones said.
- "We're not there yet," Jones tells Axios. "But we really hope we don't have to get there."
What's happening: Providing enough pressure for Houston's water supply during times of drought puts a strain on the system, Jones said.
- Heat and dry ground can break underground water pipes — meaning water pumps have to work harder to make up for the lost pressure.
Zoom out: Several surrounding communities have recently put in place similar restrictions, including Katy, Rosenberg, Fulshear and West University Place, per KHOU.
- Plus, burn bans are in effect in Waller, Liberty and Chambers counties, according to the station.
- Heat indices will be in the 110s.
The bottom line: If you have a yard, consider watering on this schedule as suggested by the city.
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