New Braunfels Utilities officials warned residents on Wednesday that New Braunfels and surrounding communities could enter the second stage of drought watering restrictions soon.
Although there has been some slight rain in the area, NBU officials said the precipitation hasn’t been enough maintain water level readings at the Edwards Aquifer for New Braunfels and the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone areas.
The recent rise in temperatures and increased water usage, combined with a warmer than usual and dry forecast, means that New Braunfels could enter Stage 2 drought restrictions within the next week.
On Wednesday, the 10-day average for the J-17 well is 651.7-feet, less than two feet above the trigger for Stage 2.
NBU implemented Stage 1 drought restrictions on March 10.
NBU Chief Strategic Communications and Security Officer Melissa Krause said it’s the time of year when water demand is anticipated to increase.
“Conservation measures enforced through drought restrictions are designed to help conserve water,” Krause said. “However, NBU encourages year-round conservation to help protect our natural resources.”
Under the second stage of watering restrictions, the schedule for the use of a sprinkler or irrigation system is limited to one day a week by addresses, with addresses ending 0 or 1 having Monday, 2 or 3 having Tuesday, 4 or 5 having Wednesday, 6 or 7 having Thursday and 8 or 9 on Friday.
Use of a hand-held hose, bucket, soaker hose, drip irrigation system, or a soaker hose that does not spray water into the air would be allowed on any day only before 10 a.m. and after 8 p.m. during Stage 2. The use of a sprinkler or irrigation system is not permitted on the weekends during stages 1, 2 or 3.
New Braunfels National Airport has received 3.39 inches of precipitation so far this year, about 3.5 inches below average. The airport has received no precipitation so far in April. The average precipitation amount for the month to date is 0.36 inches.
Precipitation forecasts don’t show any upcoming improvement in drought conditions.
A slight chance for rainfall is in the National Weather Service forecast for New Braunfels for Sunday through Tuesday.
The U.S. Drought Monitor map, produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, shows Comal and Guadalupe counties under moderate to severe drought conditions.
A six- to ten-day outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center indicates the likelihood of above-average temperatures and near normal precipitation in South Central Texas.
NOAA’s monthly drought outlook for April indicates drought conditions persisting in the area.
About 82.2% of the state is now dealing with some level of drought, with 42% in extreme or exceptional drought conditions.