Council temp changes watering restrictions

- After four days of rain, San Angelo has gone from having 12.5 months of water supply to 30.57 months of water supply, without the Hickory Aquifer water, and 36 months of water supply with the Hickory Aquifer water.

Under the current Drought Contingency Plan, the city is supposed to drop to standard conservation methods. However, temporarily, city council will remain in Drought Level 2 and resume watering once every 7 days.

Last week's rains added more than 18 months to the city's water supply, bringing it to a more than 30 month supply. This gave council the option to return to standard conservation measures. Instead, council chose to stay in Drought Level 2; but, allow summer time restrictions to go into effect, at least until the next council meeting on July 1st.

John Begnaud, who attended Tuesday's meeting, said he is frustrated by the decision.

"They legislate for down here and they handcuff us up here," Begnaud stated.

Councilwoman Grindstaff said the problem is balancing supporting the water department, which is $2 million in the red, with water conservation.

"Our problem is that we have a budget that is tied to the sale of water," Grindstaff explained.

Begnaud said he believes residents can be trusted to continue conserving water without city-mandated restrictions.

"It didn't happen after the drought in the 50's and it's not gonna happen now. I think people are changed forever on this," Begnaud continued.

Mayor Morrison said it is a tough call to make.

"It's a tight rope that we're trying to walk and I understand the frustration," Morrison said. "We do need to conserve water; but, we also have a water department that depends on water for its financial viability."

At the next city council meeting, on July 1st, city staffers will present a comprehensive water proposal, including possible tweaks to the drought levels and city water rates.

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