The rationing of water within the city became effective on Monday.
The order restricts yard watering by sprinklers to one day a week. For residential customers that is limited to the days when their trash in picked up by Republic Services trucks.
For commercial customers, lawn and garden irrigation is only permitted on Tuesdays for properties located east of Washington Street and on Thursdays for properties west of Washington Street.
Also, no yard water will be allowed between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on those days.
Stage 3 water restrictions also mean that “no person shall allow water to run off a property into streets or storm drains and no person shall allow water to flow constantly through a tap hydrant or valve.”
Hand-held irrigation will be allowed at any time on any day, and drip irrigation is allowed if the irrigation system is equipped with a positive shutoff nozzle.
Car washing also is being limited to a customer’s designated water day unless the vehicle is washed in a commercial car wash.
Car washing at home must be done with a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shutoff nozzle for quick rinse.
The restriction will not affect decorative ponds, fountains and waterfalls in most circumstances.
Residential and commercial fountains indoors may operate without restrictions, but outdoor commercial fountains must be granted a variance permit.
Using water from hydrants for construction purposes is allowed with a special permit. The use of fire hydrants is allowed for firefighting purposes and to maintain public health, safety and welfare. That includes flushing dead-end water mains.
Water also may be used to maintain the integrity of building foundations on any day as long as that is done by using a hand-held or drip hose.
Filling swimming pools may only be done on designated watering days.
Also, a special permit will be required to wash buildings and sidewalks except for business purposes or in the interest of public health safety.
Corpus Christi initiated State 2 limits on water usage earlier this month after combined water levels for Choke Canyon Reservoir and Lake Corpus Christi dropped to 40 percent of capacity.
That restricts residents of that city to irrigating their yards and gardens only on their trash pick-up days.
Evaporation rates and mandated water releases from the lake into the Coastal Bend bays and estuaries prompted that.
Corpus Christi residents are forbidden to water their lawns between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on a year-round basis.
The lake levels were drawn down in May and June when the mandatory releases of water into the bays and estuaries resulted in the loss of 30,000 acre-feet of water from the reservoir system.
A single acre-foot of water equals 325,851 gallons.
Corpus Christi has been required, by law, to release a certain amount of water from the lakes for years to decrease the salinity in the Coastal Bend bays and estuaries.
Scientists said the salinity levels in those bodies of water must be lower to allow for the spawning of shrimp that will eventually move into the Gulf of Mexico.
City Manager Jack Hamlett said Tuesday that the restrictions are just the first step in dealing with what is expected to be a hot, dry summer. Water releases and evaporation have drawn down the level of Lake Corpus Christi to less than 40 percent of capacity.
Hamlett said water storage projections are not encouraging for this summer.
“We’re asking for help,” Hamlett said. “If everybody will help out maybe we can get through this summer,” he said.
Hamlett said it would be nice for rain to fall on portions of the Texas Hill Country near San Antonio in coming weeks.
What Beeville and the rest of Coastal Bend cities need is a good flow of water down the Nueces and Frio Rivers.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.