WACO, Texas — The City of Waco will implement the second stage of its drought contingency plan on Wednesday, limiting residents to just two days of outdoor watering per week.
Residents and businesses will be assigned a watering day based on the last digit of their address. Watering will only be permitted before 6 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on those days.
Those with odd numbers will be allowed to water on Tuesday and Saturday.
Those with even numbers will be allowed to water on Wednesday and Sunday.
Non-residential addresses can water on Monday and Friday.
City manager Bradley Ford explained on Monday that Lake Waco is in its 6th driest period since 1902 and is now seven feet below its typical water level.
The drought and forecast for the rest of the summer concerned city leaders enough to jump immediately into stage two of the drought contingency plan. Ford acknowledged that if the trend continues, the lake could reach its lowest level on record by 2023.
"We have water in Lake Waco, we have the ability to supply hospitals, nursing homes, your homes with water. What we're trying to do is the prudent move, to show we can deal with a long-range drought," Ford said
The restrictions also impact wholesale water customers, such as West, Lacy-Lakeview, Hewitt, Woodway, Robinson and Bellmead. Each municipality must create restrictions as stringent as Waco's.
If Waco residents fail to comply with the new restrictions, they could face up to a $2,000 fine. Full enforcement is not expected until August 1, although city leaders acknowledge that repeat offenders could be penalized sooner.
City staff will monitor for offenders, both in the field and using the city's metering technology. The encourage people to report overuse of water or watering on an incorrect day to the city via the MyWaco app.
The city itself has already committed to a 30 percent reduction in its water use.
There are several exemptions from the new restrictions, including school sports fields.
Water-dependent businesses, such as water parks and car washes are also not restricted in stage 2.
You can view the city's full drought contingency plan on the city's website.