Drought Contingency Plan
Every year we deal with drought to some degree. Some years, we have little rain to replenish the surface water supply and groundwater supply, and some years we have ample rain and the concern is not as extreme. Whatever the case may be, by mandate, the City of Missouri City has a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) in place to curtail water use during times of drought, water emergency and high usage that require conservation. A drought can happen any time of the year, however, it is most concerning during the summer months when irrigation and water use is at its peak.
The City uses two different water sources with set regulations - surface water from the Brazos River and groundwater. The surface water from the Brazos River is purchased from the Gulf Coast Water Authority (GCWA). In 2019, the GCWA has set some strict limits in preparations for dry conditions such as a drought. The groundwater is from the Fort Bend Subsidence District, which also limits how much water could be withdrawn each year from the aquifer. In addition to these restrictions, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the state agency who regulates water systems in cities and municipalities, mandates that all city and municipal water systems to have a DCP in place with five stage. While stage one and two are voluntary, stages three – five are mandatory.
Since the GCWA added new curtailment to the DCP, the City is required by TCEQ to update the plan accordingly. On May 6, 2019, the DCP was placed before City Council for the first reading to amend the 2012 DCP with the updated plan, and on May 20, 2019 the DCP was amended. Moving forward both systems, surface water and groundwater, have been aggregated and will follow one set of rules keeping the water use equal and fair for all users.
The City monitors water production levels several times daily, and in the event we reach 80% of our capacity for five consecutive days, the City will inform residents through media blasts, website and communicate with partnering MUDs. If high usage continues and water supplies continue to decrease, mandatory measures will be taken to limit days for irrigation, outside water use leaving water use only for domestic reasons until water supplies recharge and the restrictions are lifted.
Water Conservation Tips for Irrigation
Our largest water use is irrigation. Please be mindful of your irrigation systems. Most irrigation run times are set higher than really needed wasting more water and costing you more money. Also, rain sensors are a requirement by the state and the City. Irrigation systems should not run during rain events or up to three days after a significant rain event. Water use and how we use water is the responsibility of all consumers.