Environmental Protection

San Antonio Trades Lush Lawns for Water Future

San Antonio Water System (SAWS) continues to assure the community that its water supply is being managed with an eye toward the city's future.

"We're successfully managing this drought with the least possible impact on our daily lives," noted Robert R. Puente, president/chief executive officer of San Antonio Water System. "By curtailing a few luxuries today -- like lush, green lawns -- we don't have to worry about having enough water for our homes and businesses tomorrow."

According to a July 27 press release, SAWS manages water supplies through drought management and long-term water conservation programs. As a result, residents and businesses are reducing lawn irrigation and other non-essential water use to ensure "business as usual" in San Antonio. Even in Stage Three and Stage Four drought restrictions, which San Antonio has never before faced, there are no restrictions for water used in area industry or business operations.

Drought restrictions in place this June, for example, resulted in a 23 percent reduction in pumped water compared to June 2008 when drought restrictions were not in place.

Long term, San Antonio is pumping the same amount of water today as it did 20 years ago, despite a 50 percent growth in service population, leading the nation in water conservation with programs to replace water-wasting toilets and the nation’s largest direct recycled water system.

"Medtronic is bringing 1,400 jobs to San Antonio, and both Whataburger and Tindall Corporation are each expected to add another 250 jobs. We have the water we need to thrive, and despite the driest 22-month period in more than a century, our economy remains stronger than other parts of the nation," added Puente. "We’re managing our water, not rationing it. Years of proven water management have prepared us to ride out this dry spell."

In addition, SAWS recently updated its 50-year water management plan, which includes expanding conservation and recycled water programs, investing in additional aquifer storage and recovery programs, and exploring opportunities for brackish water and ocean water desalination.

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