Fort Bend County, Fireworks, and Drought

28 12 2012

Just in time for New Year’s Eve, the Texas Forest Service has determined that drought conditions no longer exist in Fort Bend County.  The KBDI Index must be an average of 575 for drough conditions to exist within a TexasFireworks county for the purpose of restricting certain aerial fireworks.  Though the County’s index was nearing 500 just a few weeks ago, it is now at 419.  So aerial fireworks will now be allowed to be used in the unincorporated areas of the County on New Year’s Eve; but remember, most cities have bans on the use of fireworks.  Please check with your local jurisdiction to make sure what the regulations are for use of fireworks.

However, many places in Texas are still facing drought conditions.  Public water systems across the State, and in our area, are taking actions to conserve water usage.  There is a possibility that dry conditions may continue across the State for the next several months.  As a matter of fact, the Gulf Coast Water Authority is attempting to limit the use of water by ten percent.  The Gulf Coast Water Authority provides water to some areas in Fort Bend County.  For more information, the City of Missouri City has issued a Media News Release on the subject (published on December 28, 2012).  The content of the News Release is below:

Missouri City Drought Contingency Implementation

Texas is experiencing widespread drought conditions. Forecasts for early 2013 include below normal rainfall and above normal temperatures. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has issued an Order requiring the implementation of certain water use restrictions, and, as a result, the Gulf Coast Water Authority has set a goal of 10 percent reduction in water use. As a result, effective December 28, 2012, the City of Missouri City has implemented the Stage 2 Response of its Drought Contingency Plan for its Surface Water Treatment Plant Utility Service Area.  This is the area served by Sienna Plantation Municipal Utility Districts. 

The current (time period) water supply reductions and corresponding demand restrictions are temporary in nature; however, the current end date is unknown. 

The City in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Water authority will be monitoring usage and sharing information, and the City will be supplying notice and reports relating to the drought contingency plan to local and state authorities.  

At this time, for residents of Sienna Plantation utility districts, please implement the water conservation measures specified by your utility provider.  Typical water use restrictions include limitations on outdoor watering and at home washing of vehicles.

For more information, please contact your utility provider at the number on your water bill or you may contact the City for additional information at 281-403-8500.





City of Houston issues mandatory water restrictions

19 08 2011

A couple of days ago, the City of  Houston implemented stricter water conservation measures.  And, yes, that affects citizens in Fort Bend County— about 38,000 individuals of the City of Houston live in Fort Bend County.  The City of Houston, along with First Colony MUD No. 9 are now at “Stage 2” of their drought plans.  More about the actions of the City of Houston can be found in the report from KHOU.com staff, published on August 16, 2011.  The article:

Mayor Annise Parker on Monday implemented the City of Houston’s “Stage Two” water conservation plan, making the previous voluntary water restrictions mandatory for all residents.

Under the Stage Two plan, Houston residents are required to repair all detectable leaks within 72 hours of discovery and limit outdoor watering to two days a week.

Residents at even-numbered street addresses can water their lawns on Sundays and Thursdays, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 a.m. Residents with odd-numbered addresses can water on Saturdays and Wednesdays, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 10 a.m.

Failure to comply with the restrictions could result in hundreds of dollars in fines.

Parker said it wasn’t her intention to hand out a slew of violations, but residents are asked to take the restrictions seriously.

“While these restrictions are mandatory, we will begin with warnings and an informational campaign because the goal is voluntary compliance,” said Parker. “For those who insist on not being good neighbors, citations will follow.”

The City of Houston will also begin internal water-conservation measures, including the suspension of any scheduled window or power-washings, an audit of all irrigation systems for leaks, and the suspension of washing city vehicles or equipment except for health, safety or critical maintenance reasons.

The city has three main water reservoirs: Lake Livingston, Lake Houston and Lake Conroe.

Officials said because of the persistent drought conditions, they plan to start drawing water from Lake Conroe to stabilize the declining water level at Lake Houston.

It will be the first time the city has drawn water from Lake Conroe since 1988 — and only the third time in its history.

So far this summer, Lake Conroe has been losing about half a foot of water every month. Once the city starts drawing water, that will increase to more than a foot and a half a month.

In a news conference last week, Parker reminded concerned Lake Conroe property owners that the lake was built thanks to Houston taxpayers in the early 1960s.

“It is what it is,” Parker said. “There may be recreational impacts. We have to provide the necessary water to our population.”

After “Stage Two,” there are two, more serious levels of water rationing.

In the meantime, residents are also encouraged to take other water-conservation measures when possible, such as installing low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators and toilets, refraining from washing cars or filling swimming pools, limiting showers to five minutes, washing only full loads of dishes or clothes and turning off the water while brushing their teeth.





First Colony MUD No. 9 Initiates Stage 2 Water Restrictions

17 08 2011

The other day I noted that Fort Bend County MUD 81 implemented Stage 1 water restrictions for its customers.  Yesterday, First Colony MUD No. 9 initiated Stage 2 of the District’s Drought Contingency Plan.  This was only done after the District had sent out voluntary water use notices in its water bills in May of this year, and again earlier this month.  As stated in the letter received by customers and residents of the District’s water system:

Water Use Restrictions for Demand Reduction.  Under threat of penalty for violation, the following water use restrictions shall apply to all persons:

  • Irrigation of landscape areas with hose-end sprinklers or automatic irrigation systems shall be limited to Sundays and Thursdays for customers with a street address ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6 or 8), and Saturdays and Wednesdays for water customers with a street address ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7 or 9), and hose sprinkler/automatic irrigation of landscaped areas is further limited to the hours of 12:00 midnight until 10:00 a.m. and between 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight on designated watering days.   However, irrigation of landscaped areas is permitted at any time if it is by means of a hand-held hose, a faucet filled bucket or watering can of five (5) gallons or less, or drip irrigation system.
  •  Use of water to wash any motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, airplane or other vehicle except on designated watering days between 12:00 midnight until 10:00 a.m. and between 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight.  Such washing, when allowed, shall be done with a hand-held bucket or a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shutoff nozzle for quick rinses.  Vehicle washing may be done at any time on the immediate premises of a commercial car wash or commercial service station.  Further, such washing may be exempted from these regulations if the health, safety, and welfare of the public is contingent upon frequent vehicle cleansing, such as garbage trucks and vehicles used to transport food and perishables.
  • Use of water to fill, refill, or add to any indoor or outdoor swimming pools, wading pools, or Jacuzzi-type pools is prohibited except on designated watering days between the hours of 12:00 midnight until 10:00 a.m. and between 8:00 p.m. and 12:00 midnight.
  • Operation of any ornamental fountain or pond for aesthetic or scenic purposes is prohibited except where necessary to support aquatic life or where such fountains or ponds are equipped with a recirculation system.
  • Use of water from hydrants shall be limited to fire fighting, related activities, or other activities necessary to maintain public health, safety, and welfare, except that use of water from designated fire hydrants for construction purposes may be allowed under special permit from the District.
  • All restaurants are prohibited from serving water to patrons except upon request of the patron.

 The following uses of water are deemed as non-essential and are prohibited:

  1. Wash down of any sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced areas;
  2. Use of water to wash down buildings or structures for purposes other than immediate fire protection;
  3. Use of water for dust control;
  4. Flushing gutters or permitting water to run or accumulate is any gutter or street; and
  5. Failure to repair a controllable leak(s) within a reasonable period after having been given notice directing the repair of such leak(s).




Fort Bend County MUD 81: Mild Drought Conditions in Effect; drought response measures being implemented

11 08 2011

As the drought across the State of Texas continues, there is a growing necessity to conserve water.  Fort Bend County MUD 81 (City of Weston Lakes) has announced today that they are implementing the first stage of its drought contingency plan.  At this point, customers in the municipal utility district boundaries are asked to voluntarily reduct water use, except the following activities shall be mandatory and not voluntary:

  • All outdoor water usage, including, but not limited to, lawn and garden watering, car washing, and window washing, shall be limited as follows:  1)  Only users with even-numbered addresses may use water outdoors on even-numbered days and only users with odd numbered addresses may use water outdoors on odd-numbered days.  In the event no street address exists, only users living on the north and west side of a street may use water outdoors on even-numbered days, and only users on the and east side of a street may use water outdoors on odd-numbered days, and 2) Outdoor water use shall be prohibited between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., and between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 12:00 a.m. (midnight).




Senate Passes Bill Allowing Fort Bend County Representation on the Gulf Coast Water Authority Board

6 04 2011

Zen Zheng, Houston Chronicle, wrote the following article.  The item was published on April 4, 2011, and provides an update on the status of Senate Bill 683, which affects Fort Bend County.

The Texas Senate has unanimously passed a bill to allow Fort Bend and Brazoria counties to have voting power for the first time on the Gulf Coast Water Authority Board.  Senate Bill 683, drafted by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Lake Jackson, and its companion House Bill 3621, authored by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton, would bring the number of voting members from seven to nine.

Local authorities, including Fort Bend County Commissioners Court and Sugar Land Mayor James Thompson, support the legislation.  Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert called the two counties’ ability to add voting members to the board “a simple matter of fairness and equity.”

The water authority board opposes both bills and has hired a lobbyist to block Bonnen’s proposed legislation, which the House is expected to consider soon, Sugar Land city officials said.  The Senate bill, which was passed on a 30-0 vote, would grant the power to two non-voting representatives – one from each of the two counties – who participate in discussions during board meetings with the seven regular voting board members, who are all appointed by Galveston County Commissioners Court.

The new legislation would enable Fort Bend and Brazoria county commissioners to appoint new voting members to the board.  The water authority owns and operates rivers, creeks and man-made channels that provide surface water in Galveston, Fort Bend and Brazoria counties.

Since its creation in 1965, the authority, which serves residents, cities and industries, has grown in both capacity and customer base that reach far beyond Galveston County. Nearly 40 percent of the total contracted water volume is provided to Fort Bend and Brazoria counties.