City of Houston water restrictions to go into effect on Sunday

Effective Sunday August 27, residents are restricted to only using outside water between the hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. two days a week.


A drip irrigation system in place in a home garden in Moreno Valley, Calif. (Florence Low/California Department of Water Resources via AP)

The City of Houston is asking residents to conserve water under its stage 2 Drought Contingency Plan. Effective Sunday August 27, residents are restricted to only using outside water between the hours of 7 p.m. and 5 a.m. two days a week. Stage 2 is implemented when there's a significant drop in rainfall along with higher-than-normal temperatures.

"Houston Public Works asks the public to please do your part in helping us reduce citywide water use," said Houston Public Works Director, Carol Haddock in a statement. "Our goal is to reduce water usage from all customers by 10%. Our crews are working diligently in conjunction with area contractors to repair water leaks across the city."

The announcement comes after Mayor Sylvester Turner said during a city council meeting on Wednesday, that a plan for water restrictions was coming soon and it was released that same night.

"Public works and I are looking into whether we're going to put an order [in place] in terms of when people can use their water during the course of the day," he said Wednesday."

Houston has been dealing with weeks of high temperatures reaching over 100 degrees and little to no rainfall. The city said the heat is putting a strain on its water system, a reason why some residents are experiencing low water pressure. Residents are being asked to limit outside water usage for their lawns and things like car washing while on the following schedule:

  • Sundays and Thursdays for single-family residential customers with even-numbered street addresses
  • Saturdays and Wednesdays for single-family residential customers with odd-numbered street addresses
  • Tuesdays and Fridays for all other customers

"We just need everyone’s participation as we manage this crisis," said Mayor Turner. “We will come out of it, but Mother Nature will determine when that will actually happen."

Mayor Turner said the drought is also increasing the number of water leaks across the city and they're trying to get additional help to fix them. Under the city's stage 1 drought, Houston Public Works said they were seeing about 300 pending leaks, but that number has since increased.

"I put out a call for even more contractors, we already had six outside contractors in addition to our internal crews that are working to address water leaks," he said. "We are experiencing a little bit more than 500 water leaks – about a month and a half ago, we got those water leaks down to less than 100."

Contractors would usually have to go through the city's normal procurement process, but due to the severity of the situation, contractors are being expedited through a process called the POS emergency purchase order. City Council will still have to approve the contractors payments.

The city said as long as the drought continues they anticipate the main water leaks will continue, which is why they need residents to comply. Officials said anyone who violates the measures will be given a written fine for a first-time violation and up to $2,000 fine for each recurring offense.

"I think what people will find in this case is that not only will the city of Houston be out and see who’s complying, but neighbors will also be assisting in this process," said Mayor Turner. "One thing I found with people in the city of Houston, especially when we’re dealing with a crisis is that– if you tell people what the rules are for Houstonians, 99% of them, they work with you."

Residents are encouraged to call the 311 helpline if they see any leaks.

MORE: Houston Matters discusses the drought’s effect on the region’s bayous and agriculture


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Ashley Brown

Ashley Brown


Ashley Brown is a news reporter at Houston Public Media, News 88.7. She covers a range of topics, primarily focusing on Houston City Hall. Before moving back to Houston in 2022, she worked at WHQR Public Radio in Wilmington, NC where she covered city and county government, homelessness and community...

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