Conroe may tighten water restrictions

November 10, 2011 3:20:45 PM PST
A little rain here and there isn't doing much to stop the drought, and here is proof: for the first time in Conroe's history, the city may implement Stage 2 mandatory water restrictions. And there's growing concern about how the drought will affect the water supply next year.

Conroe's municipal water tanks and wells have been working at near capacity all year. But later tonight, the city is expected to approve a plan designed to help curb that usage.

This drought can be measured by the dry pine needles and leaves in the front yard of Ben Price's Conroe home.

"This tree here has died from the drought stress," Price said.

In his subdivision, there are voluntary watering restrictions. The suggestion is watering only two times a week; but that may change in January to Stage 2 mandatory restrictions, which means outdoor watering is limited to no more than twice weekly. The difference is a fine, which is expected to be $50 per violations.

"It would cost people a lot of money to replace landscaping, to replace yards. It would be difficult," Price said.

It is the first time the city of Conroe has considered a mandatory plan, but consider what it's seen in the past year. Water consumption September 2009 through October 2010 was 2.8 billion gallons. For the past year, that's increased to nearly 3.5 billion. And even as we move into winter, usage still hasn't declined by much.

Down the road is Lake Conroe, but the city doesn't get its water from that source; instead, it draws from an aquifer pumping the water into tanks. Right now, those pumps are working 24/7.

"And to prevent future problems from not being able to produce water from our wells, that's the driver behind the Stage 2 -- is more of a preventive than it is being driven by our drought," Conroe Public Works Director Dean Towery said.

If the plan is approved by the city, the new restrictions would take effect in January.

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