District Adopts Updated Drought Contingency Plan

April 2019

The San Patricio Municipal Water District is required by state regulations to update its Drought Contingency Plan every five years.  The District is also required by its water contracts with the City of Corpus Christi to have a drought contingency plan consistent with the city’s plan.  The city updated their plan twice in 2018.

After a public meeting to receive comments held on March 19, the SPMWD board of directors voted April 9th to adopt a revised District plan.  The plan was last updated in 2017.

Because current combined lake levels are well above the trigger for mandatory conservation measures (above 40%), the regions is NOT in a water shortage condition.

The plan calls for the District Manager to monitor city actions and water supply conditions weekly to determine when conditions warrant initiation of triggers set out in the plan.
A key element of the plan is that the previous five stages for triggering conservation measures have been reduced to four stages.  The triggers are tied to the combined amount of water in storage in the Choke Canyon Reservoir/Lake Corpus Christi (CCR/LCC) system.

The plan includes a revised section dealing with industrial customers.

DOWNLOAD - You can download the entire 2019 SPMWD Drought Contingency Plan [HERE].

Stage 1 is triggered when the CCR/LCC system dips below 40% capacity. The Stage 1 goal is to reduce regional water consumption by 10%.
Water use restrictions under Stage 1 limit any hose-end sprinkler or irrigation system lawn watering to once per week.  It also requires customers to discontinue other non-essential uses.  Sprinkler irrigation is always prohibited from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Hand watering is allowed on any day but the hose must have an automatic shut off nozzle.
Stage 1 restrictions remain in place until combined CCR/LCC levels return to at least 50% of capacity. 

Stage 2 of the Drought Contingency Plan would be triggered at CCR/LCC capacity levels of less than 30%. In Stage 2 drought conditions, lawn watering is limited to once every other week on designated days. 

Stage 3 is triggered at 20% of reservoir capacity and is considered a critical condition.  The goal is an overall demand reduction of 30%. State 3 restrictions can be terminated when combined lake levels increase above 30%.
Landscape irrigation is prohibited at all times in Stage 3.  Also prohibited is filling of pools and washing vehicles or boats except at a commercial car was station.  Water use to maintain the integrity of a building foundation is allowed.

This stage is applicable to a specific event such as a major water line break or pump or system failure causing unprecedented loss of the ability to provide water service, or a natural or man-made contamination of the water supply source. During Stage 4 the goal is to achieve at 50% reduction in daily treated water demand.  Surcharges and reduced allocations would be enforceable.

The plan includes adoption of a system of surcharges intended to deter water use during periods of serious drought.  For residential water customers a monthly base of 3,000 gallons is the trigger point that could lead to a reservoir system surcharge of 100% of the customer’s total monthly water bill over 3,000 gallons.

Monthly water usage allocations would be established for each large industrial customer and a surcharge applied above that amount.

Rules for triggering water use restrictions were revised in order to better reflect the expanded surface water supply available to Coastal Bend customers. The revised restrictions reflect the fact that water sources for the regional water system are now more diversified with surface water coming from the Colorado River and Lake Texana (on the Navidad River) in addition to Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon Reservoir on the Nueces River. Rules prohibiting lawn sprinkler use between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. are always in effect regardless of any drought conditions.