Coastal Bend Region Now Under Stage 2 Water Restrictions
March 18, 2024

Mandatory water use restrictions are now in effect for customers throughout the Coastal Bend region. Lake levels in the Nueces River Basin slipped below 30% of total capacity in early March triggering Stage 2 of the Drought Contingency Plan.

The primary additional restriction in Stage 2 is that sprinkler irrigation of lawns and landscaping is limited to once every other week on designated days.  In most area communities, but not all, the day of the week that sprinkler watering is allowed is the same day as the customer’s garbage collection. Sprinkler irrigation is prohibited any day between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

These mandatory restrictions apply to all customers who get their water from the regional supply system that includes Lake Corpus Christi, Choke Canyon Reservoir, Lake Texana and streamflow in the Colorado River.

By contract, the Water District and all public water providers connected to the regional supply system must have adopted mandatory conservation plans that are at least as restrictive as the plan adopted by the City of Corpus Christi.  Public water systems are required to enforce these rules at all times. 

Stages 1-4 of Water Conservation

The regional water conservation plan sets out four stages of enforcement depending on drought conditions:

Stage 1
– Mild Water Shortage Watch: Initiated when combined lake levels of the Choke Canyon Reservoir and Lake Corpus Christi system (CCR/LCC system) fall below 40% of capacity.  Stage 1 restrictions are not lifted until combined lake levels return to at least 50%.  The region has been in Stage 1 since July 2022.

Stage 2 -   Moderate Shortage Condition: Additional restrictions are initiated when lake levels fall below 30% and remain in effect until combined lake return to at least 40%.

Stage 3 – Critical Water Shortage Condition: Stage 3 is initiated if combined water storage levels decline below 20%.  Additional restrictions on certain non-essential water uses will remain in effect until levels increase to above 30%.  Stage 2 then becomes operative.

Stage 4 – Emergency Water Shortage Condition: Stage 4 could be declared by the SPMWD District Manager in the event of an extreme water system production or transmission system failure.


The following are some of the water use restrictions in effect during Stage 2:

1. Irrigation of landscaped areas with hose-end sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems shall be limited to once every other week and is prohibited between the hours of 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The designated watering day for each residence is determined by the local city or water provider. For all San Patricio Municipal Water District direct retail customers the designated day is Saturday. However, irrigation of landscaped areas is permitted on any day if it is by means of a hand-held hose with a positive shut-off nozzle, a faucet filled bucket or watering can of five gallons or less, or a drip irrigation system with a positive shut-off device. Customers irrigating with an irrigation well should provide a legible sign prominently posted on the premises within two feet of the street number located on the premises. 

2. Use of water to wash a motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, or other vehicle is prohibited except on the designated watering day for that residence or business. However, washing of boats/and or flushing of boat motors is permitted upon immediate exit of a water body. Vehicle washing may be done at any time at the premises of a commercial car wash. 

3. Use of water to fill, refill or add to any indoor or outdoor swimming pools, wading pools, or Jacuzzi-type pools is prohibited except on your designated watering day.

4. The use of water to maintain the integrity of building foundations is only permitted by use of a hand held hose or drip irrigation.

5. The following uses of water are defined as non-essential and are prohibited:

>>Wash-down of any sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced areas;

>>Use of water to wash down buildings or structures for purposes other than immediate fire protection unless a permit has been issued by the Water District;

>>Use of water for dust control without permit granted by the appropriate public water provider.

Each city government or water provider may impose additional restrictions and is responsible for notifying customers and for enforcement. Various enforcement mechanisms can be used including the potential for disconnecting water service for repeat offenders.

The Drought Contingency and Conservation plans are intended to help ensure the region's water security and to strive to see that all customers are treated equitably across the seven counties that rely on the region's reservoir system. The plans set out how water use restrictions will be triggered and how they will apply to customers. Full copies of these SPMWD plans can be downloaded here:

Drought Contingency Plan

Water Conservation Plan

Water District customers include the cities of Odem, Taft, Gregory, Portland, Ingleside, Ingleside-on-the-Bay, Aransas Pass, Rockport and Port Aransas, Rincon Water Supply Corp., Seaboard Water Supply Corp., Nueces County WCID #4 (Port Aransas) and several industrial customers.