On Tuesday, Sept. 18, the City Council will consider implementing the restrictions for Drought Level 3, effective Oct. 2.

As required by ordinance, Drought Level III is triggered when the city has less than 12 months of water supply remaining. It prohibits outside watering, the refilling of fountains and swimming pools, and car-washing unless there is a public safety or public health risk.

Implementing the restrictions on Oct. 2 will allow the City to raise public awareness about the restrictions, as it typically does whenever a new drought stage is entered. It will also accommodate two readings and passage of ordinance changes the City Council may seek. Earlier this month, some Council members raised concerns about the impact Drought Level III would have on water-dependent businesses such as car washes and upon investments in swimming pools.

Thursday’s thunderstorms generated a half-inch to an inch of rainfall on much of the watersheds of O.H. Ivie and Twin Buttes reservoirs, and of Lake Nasworthy. However, because the earth absorbed so much of the moisture, the rains yielded little runoff into the lakes, Water Utilities Director Will Wilde said.

Wilde said this is the first time San Angelo has entered the final stage of a drought contingency plan since the first plan was adopted in the 1980s.

Water fees also increase under Drought Level III. For single-family homes, an additional fee of $6 per 1,000 gallons will be charged for usage of more than 10,000 gallons during a monthly billing period. The surcharges will be effective beginning with November’s billing.

A $120 million project to supplement San Angelo’s water supply with the Hickory Aquifer in McCulloch County is under way. About 18 miles of a 62-mile pipeline have been laid, nine wells have been tapped, and construction continues on a booster pump station – all in anticipation of pumping 6 million gallons per day if needed next summer.

Without inflow into Ivie, Twin Buttes and Nasworthy, San Angelo would be dependent upon the Hickory for its water needs.

A treatment plant to remove radium from the Hickory water will be on line in August 2014. Wilde said since planning on the project began in 2008 with an aim of completing it in 2014, the plant was always meant to be the final piece of the infrastructure, owing partly to the eight months required for pilot testing.

Wilde said the Hickory was not projected to address the extreme drought of the past two years, but to be of service well before it was anticipated to be needed in 2020.

This information provided by the City of San Angelo's Department of Public Information.