With the late May flooding a distant memory and the Edwards Aquifer falling a foot every three days, the San Antonio Water System says it will try its best to hold off unprecedented Stage Three water restrictions, but warn that stiffer water use rules may be inevitable, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  "We are cautiously optimistic that the restrictions of Stage Three can be avoided," Karen Guz, who is SAWS Conservation Manger, tells 1200 WOAI's Berit Mason.  "However, it looks like we're going to hit that trigger next week, so we are asking everybody to remain frugal with the restrictions of State Two."


  The region has been in Stage Two water restrictions all year, but Stage Three, which allows lawn watering by sprinkler only twice a month, has never been imposed in metro San Antonio.  The 'trigger' for implementing State Three restrictions is the Aquifer level being under 640 feet for ten days in a row.


  Currently the Aquifer is just over 638 feet, and there is no rain in the forecast, and plenty of triple-digit days, which lead to big drops in the Aquifer level.


  "The Aquifer is approaching that ten day rolling average of 640," Guz said.  "Unless we get some rain that is unexpected, it is likely that it will hit that ten day rolling average 640 level some time next week."


  She says SAWS will be tapping it's huge underground water storage area in southeast Bexar County, which was replenished by runoff from the May flooding, in hopes of holding off Stage Three restrictions as long as possible.


  Guz concedes that it is ironic to be discussing water use restrictions two months after a huge flood that killed three people and resulted in dozens of streets and neighborhoods seeing record flooding.  But she points out that the Aquifer started the year far lower than it has started previous years, due to the ongoing drought.


  This is the first year ever that Stage Two water restrictions have been in place the entire year.


  "Even though it's been a spring with some wonderful rain events, including a couple that were very big, it hasn't been enough to overcome three years of drought."