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Home : News : News
NEWS | Aug. 14, 2014

Stage 4 water restrictions implemented across JBSA

By Benjamin Martinez Joint Base San Antonio utility manager

The 10-day average of the Bexar County index well J-17 - the official well for recording groundwater elevations in the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer - fell below 630 feet mean sea level as of 9 a.m. Tuesday. (Note: Comal Springs and San Marcos Springs are also spring flows that trigger given stages.)

Stage 4 water restrictions for Joint Base San Antonio are triggered at the following levels: Bexar (J-17): less than 630 feet above sea level; Comal Springs: less than 100 cubic feet per second.

The J-17 well is actually housed in a nondescript building just off Harry Wurzbach and near the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. It serves as the official well for recording groundwater elevations in the San Antonio Pool of the Edwards Aquifer, according to the Edwards Aquifer Authority website (

J-17 is the most cited and recognized in a network of observation wells maintained by the Edwards Aquifer Authority to monitor aquifer conditions in Uvalde, Medina, Bexar, Comal and Hays counties. Water level readings at J-17 are continuously recorded and monitored by the Edwards Aquifer Authority.

The JBSA Base Civil Engineer declared Stage 4 in accordance with the current JBSA Critical Period Management Plan and Biological Opinion issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The biological opinion limits JBSA's water draw from the Edwards Aquifer in order to protect eight endangered species which live in the aquifer and its associated springs. These species can only survive when aquifer levels and spring flows are adequately maintained.

The changes from Stage 3 facing base residents are substantial.

All the Stage 3 restrictions are still in place; in addition to Stage 4 water restrictions, such as:

· Installation of new turf is prohibited;

· Lawn/turf watering is prohibited;

· Landscapes may be watered by a one-inch diameter (or less) handheld garden hose, soaker hose or a five-gallon (or less) bucket every two weeks from 3-8 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. on days from Table 2, JBSA Critical Period Management Plan (;

· Athletic fields may be watered once every two weeks between the hours of 3-8 a.m. and 8-10 a.m. once per week on the days from Table 2, JBSA Critical Period Management Plan;

Government vehicle and POV washing not allowed except in extreme circumstances approved in advance by the Wing Commander or his/her designee.

In Stage 4, the watering days are:

· Address/facility number ends in 0 or 1, Monday is the watering day;

· Address/facility number ends in 2 or 3, Tuesday is the watering day;

· Address/facility number ends in 4 or 5, Wednesday is the watering day;

· Address/facility number ends in 6 or 7, Thursday is the watering day;

· Address/facility number ends in 8 or 9, Friday is the watering day. Use of portable yard pools is prohibited, as well as fire hydrant and sewer flushing. Additionally, there will be no watering on weekends with a sprinkler, soaker hose or irrigation system.

All water restriction measures are listed in the JBSA Critical Period Management Plan available online at

All utilities/well permit holders (including JBSA and SAWS) who withdraw water from the Edwards Aquifer are required to reduce withdrawals as the level of the Aquifer drops. Many water utilities, such as SAWS, have alternate sources of water that is not pumped from the Edwards Aquifer. Information on SAWS Aquifer Storage and Recovery can be viewed at the following website

These utilities have more flexibility because they can use non-Edwards water to replace the lost Edwards pumping authority without implementing more severe restrictions to their customers. JBSA does not have this ability - as Edwards restrictions get more stringent, we must pass on these restrictions directly to the JBSA population.

The JBSA Water Conservation Hotline at 466-4H2O (466-4426) allows for reporting of water abusers and will bring potential disciplinary measures to violators. This water point of contact will respond to calls, investigate, annotate abuse and inform the resident, facility manager or responsible individual of the problem. The POCs will then report the problem to the 502nd ABW, with further action coordinated from this point.

For people who live off base, SAWS has an online form to report water wasters at These offenses can lead to citations and fines for homeowners and businesses not following the rules.

If you are not a SAWS customer, please check your water provider's website for their process to report violations.

For more water-saving tips, check out these websites: (100+ ways to conserve), and