AUSTIN (KXAN) — The first stage of Austin’s drought plan goes into effect Monday including watering restrictions, according to a notice from the city.

This comes after three years of being in the conservation stage, which the city said is the lowest stage of the water conservation code.

The combined storage level of Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan is below 1.4 million acre-feet, which is what triggers the city’s drought contingency plan.

What are stage 1 watering restrictions?

According to the city, watering hours via automatic irrigation will be reduced from 15 hours to 13 hours (midnight through 8 a.m., then 7 p.m. through midnight). All other restrictions remain unchanged including:

  • Once-per-week automatic irrigation watering schedule will continue for residential and commercial water customers
  • Twice-per-week hose-end irrigation watering schedule will continue for residential customers

Residents can continue irrigation methods without restrictions for the following:

  • athletic fields
  • drip irrigation
  • hand-held watering with a hose
  • watering trees with automatic bubblers
  • automatic drip irrigation
  • soaker hose beneath the tree canopy and in vegetable gardens

Commercial car washes can operate normally, the city said. Resident car washes and the washing of outdoor surfaces is allowed with a bucket and/or automatic shutoff nozzle. Commercial customers will continue to only use patio misters between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight.

Learn about your watering schedule on the city’s website.

With triple-digit heat expected for at least a week, what happens if lake levels drop further? That’s when Stage 2 restrictions could come into play.

When lake storage drops to a combined 900,000 acre-feet, Stage 2 restrictions are enacted. That dropped the residential watering with hose-ends to once per week and bans charity car washes, as well as shortens the range of times people can water.

  • Automatic – midnight to 5 a.m., 7 p.m to midnight
  • Hose-end – midnight to 10 a.m., 7 p.m. to midnight

Other restrictions include:

  • Individuals may wash a vehicle only with a refillable vessel (bucket). Commercial vehicle washing facilities are still allowed to operate.
  • Golf course fairways can only irrigate between midnight and 5 a.m. and 7 pm to midnight. Greens and tees may be irrigated every other day with approval of Austin Water.
  • Ornamental fountains with aerial fall of 4” or greater may not be operated unless necessary to preserve habitat for aquatic life.
  • Individuals may only operate a patio mister at a commercial facility between 4 p.m. and midnight.
  • An individual may not use water to wash any outdoor service unless using a hose with a positive shut-off valve or with a refillable vessel.
  • Penalties for violations increase