Local News

Jul 14, 2014 2:58 PM by Janine Reyes

City Says It's Time To Save Water; They're Saving As Well

CORPUS CHRISTI -- The city of Corpus Christi is now in stage two water restrictions.

Mayor Nelda Martinez made the announcement this morning during a news conference at the American Bank Center.

We had been in voluntary stage one restrictions since November, but, lake levels lowered below 40 percent last week, requiring the city to put stage two restrictions back in place.

That means you can only water your lawn and wash your car on your garbage pick up day. Hand-held and drip irrigation is allowed any day as long as it's done before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

The City of Corpus Christi will begin enforcing the measures, Monday, July 28th; violations may result in citations of up to $500 a day.

The city says they're not just asking you to save water, though, they're doing it too.

City representatives showed 6 News part of a $7 million deal that is expected to save millions of gallons of water every year.

The city's Environmental Strategic Initiatives Director, Brent Clayton says we hit these drought conditions because of several factors. "Water use, evaporation, environmental pass through requirements, all that combines to a lower lake level and a reduced inflow," he said.

Last year most people followed the stricter water guidelines when they went into effect, leading to a 16% reduction for residential users. "To put that in perspective, that's about 1.1 billion gallons," Clayton explained.

The city is in the process now of installing a variety of devices through a company called McKinstry. They're upgrading 61 city buildings.

Michael Flores with McKinstry explained that the upgrades pay for themselves. "Every dollar that's going to install these devices and the lighting and the air conditioning all the other things that are going in is paid for by savings that come off of utility bills," he said.

City leaders demonstrated just one way they're conserving water at the American Bank Center. They've installed aerators on all of the sinks. Those aerators have an output of half a gallon of water a minute, in comparison, the old units released a gallon and a half every minute. Each upgrade will save a gallon every minute at every sink used.

Toilets are upgraded too, and because the American Bank Center is expecting its 100,000th patron this month, those measures can really add up.

Flores says you can follow the city's lead at home too. "Just yesterday I was in Home Depot, looking at all the different available devices and they range in price from $12-40," he explained. They're all devices that he says pay for themselves quickly.

The city says the will warn water violators first, but citations can carry a fine of up to $500.

Last year, the city issued 577 warnings, that led to three actual citations.

Free residential water saver kits are available on a first come, first served basis.

Contact the Water Hotline at 826-1600 to reserve yours. They can be picked up at the Water Utilities Building at 2726 Holly Road or from the Environmental & Strategic Initiatives Department on the first floor of City Hall.

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