Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the type of misdemeanor associated with violating the city of Corpus Christi's water restrictions.
The city of Corpus Christi started enforcing water restrictions in mid-June when it entered a Stage 1 Mild Water Shortage Watch.
Starting Monday, July 25, city officials plan to start fining violators up to $500 with municipal court citations — a Class C misdemeanor.
Stage 1 restrictions include the following:
Residents can use their irrigation or sprinkler system once a week on their trash collection day, before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
Hand watering is allowed on any day using a shut-off nozzle.
During Stage 1, commercial car washes and landscape nurseries are not impacted.
The combined water levels at Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon Reservoir, which feed water to the city, were at 39.2% as of Monday. The levels were at 42.9% June 14 when the restrictions were put in place.
"The goal was to have water consumption be reduced by 10%," City Manager Peter Zanoni said. "What we've seen in the past five weeks is not that. It's the opposite. People are using more water, it seems."
Zanoni expects the city to enter Stage 2 drought restrictions within a month. The city enters Stage 2 (moderate) when the lake levels reach 30%, but city officials plan to start enforcing this stage sooner. Lake levels have been dropping roughly 3% a month.
"If we wait till 30%, and the drought continues through September, October, we're not going to be in a good situation. We don't want to get there," Zanoni said.
What happens with Stage 2 restrictions?
Under Stage 2 restrictions, residents would only be able to use their irrigation systems every other week on their recycling collection day. Industrial curtailments would then be initiated.
The city is also looking at adding restrictions for Stage 2 for sports and entertainment fields.
The city last entered Stage 1 in December 2020, when the water levels reached below 40%. It took the city about six months to get enough rain to end the restrictions. Stage 1 water restrictions are lifted when combined lake levels rise above 50%.
Residents can also help conserve water by:
Avoiding water run-off on streets and sidewalks.
Checking for water leaks around your home.
Turning off the water when you brush your teeth, shave or wash your face.
Washing full loads in your laundry and dishwasher.
Covering pools or hot tubs when not in use to lessen evaporation.
The city and the region rely on four water surface sources: Choke Canyon Reservoir, Lake Corpus Christi, Lake Texana and the Colorado River via the Mary Rhodes Pipeline. Choke Canyon Reservoir and Lake Corpus Christi are the main sources.
Corpus Christi is a water supplier for seven counties with a combined population of more than 500,000 people.
This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: City of Corpus Christi to issue fines for water restriction violations