Frequently Asked Questions
Mandatory Water Restrictions: As of June 13, 2022
Water Conservation & Drought Contingency
(Updated July 13, 2022)
Why is the City enacting water restrictions now? How long has it been since the city enacted restrictions for a drought this severe?
All of McLennan County is in severe drought. (43% in extreme drought, and 15% in exceptional drought.) In our area, July and August are typically our driest months. However, over the last 40 years, June has been our third wettest month (3.43 inches on average). This year, Waco received less than 1 inch of rain in June. This year to date, rainfall in Waco is more than 10 inches below our 40 year average. Total rainfall in 2021 was about 2 inches below the 40 year average. (Reported: July 2022)
The National Weather Service calculates that Waco typically receives 19.7 inches of precipitation from January to the end of June. This year, the city has received only 8.8 inches in that time period, compared with 11 inches in the record 2011 drought.
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, and the need to make meaningful reductions in water usage, the City Manager chose to implement Stage 2 at this time. Many (if not most) large cities in Texas have year-round water conservation measures comparable to our Stage 2 measures.
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. 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 here.
What happens to wholesale customers and other cities using Waco water? Will they have to comply?
Yes.Wholesale water customers (those who purchase their water from the City of Waco and have contracts – including some of our surrounding cities like Hewitt, Lacy Lakeview, and Robinson) were informed of the City’s move to Stage 2. They are required by contract to follow Stage 2 of their city's conservation and drought contingency plans or can follow our plan. They are also responsible for enforcement in their jurisdictions.
These water 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 expensive asset so 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, by emailing 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 be looking 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?
When there is a leak repair, flushing is required to clear the water lines. State law also requires a certain amount of disinfectant to be in water lines. More about flushing can be learned here.