Some Central Texas residents could be eligible for water use exemptions amid drought-related restrictions

Published: Aug. 4, 2023 at 6:25 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Most Central Texas residents are under water restrictions because of worsening drought conditions, but those who may have planted new plants or laid new sod recently could be eligible for a water use exemption.

The of Waco city has an online form that you need to fill out to be considered for a water exemption.

Depending on if you’re a customer of Waco Water, and when your landscaping was planted, you could be eligible for a 30-day water variance.

“People are planting things, and we need them to be really conscious of the fact that we are in these drought conditions, to be sure that they’re really mindful of what they’re planting,” said Jessica Emmett Sellers with the City of Waco.

Sellers said, although it’s nice to have some leeway, it’s important to be conscious of drought conditions.

“We want to make sure that the priority is having enough water to do the things we need to do. Drinking, cooking, cleaning - things like that - over having a pristine bright green lawn,” said Sellers.

As for new grass, Preston Trevino of Sprinklerman said since the roots are being cut at the sod farm, it’s crucial for new roots to have as much water as possible to support the grass.

“Basically, you need it to kind of be soaked to allow what little roots they do have left connected to the turf to absorb as much water as they can while they send new roots further down,” said Trevino.

He recommends a drip sprinkler system because it has a 99 percent efficiency of water going to the ground.

“It has little emitters on it which allows water to slowly soak into the ground. You just lose less to wind and evaporation and things of that nature,” said Trevino.

The City of Waco predicts it will soon have to implement Stage 3 drought restrictions.

Once the city reaches Stage 3, there will not be an option for a 30-day water exemption.

As for the cities of Belton, Temple, and Killeen, you can apply for an exemption by including your contact information, the purpose of water use, and how long you’ll need the exemption for.