Houston Lifts Water Restrictions

You may have forgotten about the water conservation rules altogether at this point.

But up until now, the city's watering restrictions were still in effect — even if most Houstonians stopped watering their lawns regularly for the winter months.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says she had already been considering lifting the restrictions and Monday's rains sealed the deal.

"Until we are completely comfortable that we are out of long-term drought conditions, we're going to continue to monitor our water reservoirs very closely and our water useage very closely. But we have a window now to look at our water conservation ordinance with an eye on improving some of the elements in it."

Parker says the summer drought illustrated some of the ways the current ordinance doesn't meet the needs of the city. For example, there are no provisions for landscapers and plant nurseries to operate under different rules. And she says Houstonians needs to develop a mindset of conserving water even when we're not in a drought.

"We have always been a city that had abundant supplies of water and we have been prudent over the years in securing water rights for the City of Houston. That doesn't mean we want to waste water. And our mandatory conservation over the summer forced businesses and individuals to really think about how they use the water they get."

Parker says one change she's considering is to create an incentive system in which customers who show a significant decrease in their water use could get a lower billing rate.

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