Water use down so weekly hours go up

Municipal water customers in Big Spring will get an additional two hours to water their lawns beginning this week. City manager Gary Fuqua announced Tuesday night water consumption has fallen well below limits set by the local water district.According to Fuqua, the Colorado River Municipal Water District recently set the city's water consumption limit at 6.3 million gallons per day.“When CRMWD set the 6.3 million gallon limit, we weren't quite sure how that was going to impact our water customers,” Fuqua said. “However, since then, customers have used an average of 3.7 million gallons a day, which is well below the limit the water district set. That's what led us to decide we could give them an additional two hours to water.”Previously, city water customers were on a two-hour-a-week limit for outside water use.However, Tuesday night's changes will place municipal water customers on a four-hour-a-week schedule for outdoor watering, according to Fuqua. The restrictions allow residential customers whose address ends in an odd number to water their lawns from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays, while residential customers whose address ends in an even number are allowed to water from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays.Commercial establishments are currently allowed to water in accordance with the Drought Contingency Plan for a four-hour period Wednesdays between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.Fuqua attributes the increase in effectiveness of water conservation to citizens taking the drought more seriously.“We're certainly seeing a better level of water conservation from the citizens right now than we were this time last year, there's little doubt about that,” Fuqua said. “I think you have to attribute that to more citizens taking this seriously.“I think there are more water customers out there right now who are like me and have pretty much given up on their lawns and are just trying to keep their trees alive right now. It's a tough situation to have to face, but it's simply the reality we have to face right now.”Also during Tuesday night's meeting, the council approved first reading of an ordinance providing for the issuance of a specific use permit to M.U.G.S. Properties LLC for construction and operation of a nursing home facility located on 10 acres of property near the corner of Alamesa and Wasson.The council heard at least one complaint regarding the the proposed construction during a public hearing on the project from a local resident concerned about noise created by the nursing home. However, the project designer agreed to construct a privacy fence on the property.The permit was approved on a unanimous vote.Also approved during the meeting:• Final reading of a resolution authorizing continued participation with the steering committee of cities served by Oncor and authorizing the payment of 10 cents per capita to the steering committee to fund regulatory and related activities related to Oncor Electric Delivery Company LLC.• Awarding of a bid for wastewater treatment plant SCADA improvement as part of the 2012 Wasterwater Treatment Plant Improvement Project.• Awarding of a bid for crack-seal of runway 624 at the McMahon-Wrinkle Airport, using RAMP funds.• First reading of an ordinance authorizing the issuance and sale of combination tax surplus revenue certificates of obligation; levying an annual ad valorem tax for the payment of the certificates; approval of an official statement; and enacting other provisions related to the 2012 Wasterwater Treatment Plant Improvement Project.