City commission moves to Stage 2 water warning (VIDEO)

Hays Post

In the midst of a severe and unrelenting drought, the Hays City Commission approved a Stage 2 water warning declaration at its meeting Thursday night. The warning means the city will “reduce water to just enough to keep the roots of the grass alive on all parks and ball fields that utilize potable water.”


Outdoor water use will be prohibited from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and connections to the potable water system for irrigation also will be barred.

The move implements the second-tier fee for heavy water users, increasing the rate from $7.42 to $10.30 per 750 gallons. The fee will effect March water usage.

“Most people shouldn’t be affected by that one at all,” said City Manager Toby Dougherty, adding the city will ramp up its efforts to educate the community on conservation and regulations.

The city decided to move to water warning early due to the upcoming spring planting season.

“Knowing that a lot of people plan their lawns and gardens now, I would hate to see somebody plan a garden or a lawn replacement program and then penalize them later from a monetary standpoint through the conservation tier fee,” Dougherty said. “This gives people the opportunity to plan or not to plan knowing they’re going to pay more for that water usage outdoors.”

The drought is weighing heavy on the minds of city officials.

The next step in the city’s water conservation plan is a Stage 3 water emergency, which would implement even stricter conservation rules including a complete ban on outdoor watering and closure of municipal swimming pools.

Dougherty said the move will help “slow the rate of decline,” calling the move to Stage 2 pre-emptive.

City officials estimated that, at the current rate of decline, the city would have reached the need for a water warning by mid-summer 2014, with supplies requiring a Stage 3 water emergency in 2015.


  • guest1

    Good. Now, to enforce it without making your neighbors tattletale’s.

  • sampson

    its a great start but the city better start defining stage 3 before they get to it. does no outside watering in stage 3 mean just that or does it mean no outside watering except…..????? can people use rain barrels and haul water from outside city limits to water plants, gardens and trees etc???? you better start outlining your rules and what the penalties are before stage 3 comes about. how about shower water usage in all out motels for their guests???

  • tired of hearing excuses

    this quote slays me — “If we never have droughts, our water sources would last us 100 years.” Dougherty said.—- Hays has known about their water issues for 60 or more years. Nothing more than setting on your hands and passing the buck to let some other Commissioners deal with has been the standard operating procedure for decades. Sad that nobody had the cahones to actually take some initiative to solve the problems at hand at some time in those decades. Oh and the millions that have been wasted on buying a ranch in Edwards County that will now cost the taxpayers ten or twenty times as much as it would have to build that pipeline when they bought that folly. I wonder how much pesticide and fertilizer contamination is in that aquifer from years of runoff?

    • johnson

      i remember the water shortage in the early 90s around here. city commission got on a big bandwagon promoting new low flow toilets and shower heads.. we drilled dakota wells, put a 1/2 cent sales tax etc. all well and good but it petered out when the rains returned and citizens were complaining they couldn’t water their fescue yards. so the water conservation dwindled. now its back. many people will say i’m all behind water conservation but just not in my back yard.

  • Bottled water user

    Commissioner HIV said that we still have plenty of Drinking Water, and this will not deter businesses from coming to Hays…really! who drinks Hays water? Most people purchase bottled water here.

  • Guest 12

    Water talk been the last 25 years. and Hays still has plenty of water. No one drinks Hays water. I drink mine from the well.