Sugar Land’s irrigation schedule voluntary?
By Elsa Maxey
The City of Sugar Land has put out a voluntary schedule for irrigation in an attempt to keep up with the demand for water as it asks water customers to use water more efficiently. But, here’s the part that is irking at least one city dweller. Residents are being asked to water on two specific days of the week in keeping with the color coded, four irrigation city zones. If this is voluntary, watering two days a week, then why is the city specifying the days?
“Residents recently received a brochure in the mail with a magnet illustrating the city’s Irrigation Zone Schedule,” said city spokesperson Doug Adolph, referring to it as a good reminder for when to water. He also said that following the twice-a-week irrigation schedule benefits lawns, reduces water bills and reduces pressure on the city’s water wells and infrastructure.
While it’s understandable that the planning efforts are about cutting back on the “more than 40 percent of the City’s total water consumption” which has been used for landscaping, the question again begs…why the designated days? “The program ensures that water usage is evenly spread throughout the week,” and it also promotes responsible water use during the dry summer months, Adolph told the “Star”.
During a time when freedom, according to some, appears to be more and more under attack, “this is the sort of thing that makes me wonder whether there’s a daily use for anything mandatory water schedule in the making prefaced by this,” wonders a concerned resident wishing to remain anonymous. “What comes next…going to the grocery store on certain days of the week to ease up on the usage of the roads,” or even wear and tear, he asks, “which will save the us (the city) money?”
In his message with the voluntary schedule, Mayor James Thompson lauds the city’s efforts to provide fresh clean water to residents and mentions the recent 2 million gallon water tower constructed along U.S. 59 near the Brazos River for the growing city. Mayor Thompson states that the irrigation schedule will help prevent water restrictions during drought conditions. “But we really have restrictions now albeit under the guise of ‘voluntary’ participation, because one look at that magnet with my zone and days to water does not show the word ‘voluntary’ on the magnet itself,” said the concerned resident.
“What I also don’t like is that I might end up being policed by well intentioned neighbors,” said the water customer about the specific irrigation days schedule for his neighborhood. “There are no plans to adopt a fixed schedule,” said Adolph noting that the city adopted a revised Drought Contingency Plan last year that includes lessons learned from the 2011 drought.
So, is it okay to water on another weekly set of two days? Probably so. “Voluntarily complying with the neighborhood irrigation schedule year-round contributes to the City’s water conservation goal to reduce outdoor water use,” said Adolph. He notes that reducing current water use can prolong or possibly eliminate the need for future water system infrastructure expansions with an accompanying financial burden.
Commercial customers and roadways are also subject to the specific irrigation schedules limited to two days per week.
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