Water Restrictions FAQs
Mandatory Water Restrictions
Water Conservation & Drought Contingency
(Implemented: July 13, 2022)
Why is the City enacting water restrictions now?
McLennan County is in extreme drought. July and August are traditionally our driest months. Over the last 40 years, October has been our second wettest month (4.41 inches on average). So far, Waco received has less than 1 inch of rain in October. This year to date, rainfall in Waco is more than 16 inches below our 40 year average. Total rainfall in 2021 was about 2 inches below the 40 year average. (Reported: October 2022)
Waco typically receives 29.15 inches of precipitation from January to the end of October. So far, the city has received only 11.8 inches, compared with 20.28 inches in the record 2011 drought. (National Weather Service)
Why move to Stage 2 in the Drought Contingency Plan and who gets to make the decision?
Under the Council adopted plan, the City Manager has the authority to make the decision. Given the facts described above, there is a need to make meaningful reductions in water usage. The City Manager chose to implement Stage 2 in July. Many large cities in Texas have similar water conservation measures year round. The current drought is the sixth-driest period Waco has experienced since 1902.
What does hand-watering include?
Watering by hand indicates a person watering with a water hose or watering can. It does not mean a hose connected to a sprinkler or other device. In Stage 2, you may water by hand any day, any time.
What is the City of Waco doing to reduce water usage?
The City of Waco is committed to reduce water usage by over 30%. For details on how, read the Action Plan(PDF, 2MB).
What happens to wholesale customers and other cities using Waco water? Will they have to comply?
Yes. Wholesale water customers were informed of the City’s move to Stage 2. This includes those who have contracts to purchase water from us. It includes some surrounding cities like Hewitt, Lacy Lakeview, and Robinson. They must comply with our plan or Stage 2 of their city's drought contingency plan. They are also responsible for enforcement in their jurisdictions.
These wholesale customers are responsible for notifying their residents or water users of their conservation plan. Our water billing staff will be monitoring consumption and reporting any non-compliance.
Will schools be allowed to water their sports fields?
Yes. Athletic fields are a significant investment and an expensive asset. Turf maintenance is important to tax payers. In addition, turf maintenance is also an important element in player safety.
How can I report violations?
Our water utility billing staff will be monitoring consumption and reporting excessive usage.
Residents can report non-compliance through the MyWaco app (download from your app store or click here) or by calling (254) 299-CITY (2489).
How long will these restrictions remain in place?
Until the Lake Waco water level exceeds 455 feet.
Follow Lake Waco levels here.
I just planted new grass and trees, what do I do?
Residents and businesses may apply for a 30-day variance on newly planted grass/landscaping by emailing the Water Team here. (Please include details and the date planted when requesting.)
What if I need to fill/refill my pool?
In Stage 2 of the plan, this is allowed. Restrictions are more stringent in future stages.
What does excessive runoff from watering mean?
Staff will look for excessive flows that run down the street and/or sprinklers spraying 10 feet or more from the property.
Why do you still flush fire hydrants?
Hydrant flushing can prevent highly chlorinated water from entering the rest of the system after a leak or repair. The hydrants are also flushed to maintain the correct level of disinfectant in the water. Disinfectants degrade over time and need testing and adjustments to keep water safe. Heat actually makes this happen faster, so flushing is especially important during the summer.