More water restrictions expected

It appears the city of Big Spring will have to start off its summer watering season a bit on the dry side, as City Manager Gary Fuqua told the council Tuesday night municipal water customers will be asked to cut their water usage even more than this time last year.Fuqua said the city has received a letter from the Colorado City Municipal Water District laying out its alloted water deliveries for the summer months.“We've received our letter from CRMWD telling us what our allotment will be through the summertime,” Fuqua told the council. “Beginning April 1, we will be limited to 6.3 million gallons per day. Just to kind of give you an idea where we were at the same point last year, we were working with 6.8 million gallons per day, so we need to reduce by approximately 500,000 gallons a day.”According to Fuqua, many of the other cities currently served by the Colorado River Municipal Water District — which has found itself drought stricken and with a dwindling supply of water at its reservoirs — have moved to a system of allowing watering for only two hours each week.The city of Big Spring currently allows for four hours each week, including Saturdays from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. for residential customers and Tuesdays from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m. for businesses.“We've been working with many of our large businesses as well as our educational centers,” Fuqua said. “As you know, Howard College has led the way to getting some additional water sources through water wells. We've been running some analysis on this. We've also been talking to our sister cities in Midland, Odessa and Snyder.“We're currently on a two-day a week watering schedule and we knew that might change. We are looking at bringing back at the next council meeting a recommendation for a once-a-week watering schedule. I believe the cities of Midland and Odessa are currently limiting theirs to two hours for one day a week and Snyder's schedule is a little bit longer than that and we'll be working with that.”The cut in water deliveries isn't without a silver lining, according to Fuqua, as the 500,000-gallon drop shouldn't force the city into a stricter stage of its Drought Contingency Plan, which the council adopted last year.“We will continue to be in Stage 3 (of the plan),” he said. “We won't be going into Stage 4, which is a big relief for everyone because going into Stage 4 will adjust some of the restrictions on us. We'll be monitoring this on a daily basis and any changes will be brought to the council.”