Wichita Falls City Councilors approved new changes to the drought contingency plan Tuesday. The changes include new permanent year-round conservation measures, and other new restrictions.
Spray irrigation is now prohibited between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the current ordinance the hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The hope is by extending the hours it would reduce water lost to evaporation, according to city officials.
Restaurants, bars, and clubs must utilize a pre-rinse nozzle that uses less than 1.6 gpm, and must have a positive-shut-off. Installations of ice machines that are single-pass water cooled are not allowed.
Hotels and motels are now required to offer guests a linen reuse option to conserve water. They are also required to post an informal sign in each room to inform guest.
The year-round conservation measures will go into effect in 30 days. If residents do not abide by them they can face a penalty up to $2,000.
"The original stage one, public outreach, there wasn't a whole lot of teeth in that one, so to speak,” said Schreiber. “Not a lot of water conservation in it. I think this is a good move."
The new stage one will limit spray irrigation to two days a week, based on your home address. However, soaker hoses, bubbler systems and hand held hoses will still be allowed.
A landscaper waiver will be available for new landscapes. Golf Courses will also be subject to limiting irrigation to two days a week, except for the greens.
“I think the public will be very receptive to the new rules especially the stage one,” said Schreiber.
The green industry has been one of the hardest hit services during the record drought. However, the changes are something Katherine Smith, from Smith’s Gardentown, said she can get on board with.
“Some restrictions on the spray irrigation are great,” said Smith. “You can still keep your lawn looking great without using so much spray irrigation.”
The new Stage 2 Drought Warning will limit spray irrigation even further, to just one day a week. Car washing will still be allowed at a residence or business.
Smith said the new changes just mean residents need to stay educated about plants, and soils.
“You know I think we're moving in the right direction,” said Smith. “Many people have over-watered their landscape for many years and I think the drought has taught us that plants can get by with a lot less water.”
In the new Stage 3 Drought Emergency spray irrigation and sprinkler systems will be subjected to new hours. Spray irrigation will be limited to between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. Automatic sprinkler systems and hose end sprinklers will be allowed from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
In this stage, car washing will still be allowed at residences and businesses.
City leaders announced no changes would be implemented in Stage 4 and Stage 5.