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Milberger's Nursery and Landscaping
3920 North Loop 1604 E.
San Antonio, TX 78247

Open 9 to 6 Mon. through Sat.
and 10 to 5 on Sun.

Three exits east of 281, inside of 1604
Next to the Diamond Shamrock station
Please click map for more detailed map and driving directions.

Click here

Express News Weekly Article
Saturday, January 8, 2005
By Calvin Finch, Conservation Director, SAWS, and Horticulturist

The Water Conservation Ordinance is Here

For all of you that have been saying we need a year round water conservation ordinance, it is here.  You can come on January 11th to offer your support, or criticize the provisions.  The Ordinance discussion is from 6-8pm at the Witte Museum.  You do not need to attend the whole session, but can stop in and give us your opinion.  There will be a 20-minute presentation to lead off the discussion and then speakers will given 3 minutes to express their opinions. 


San Antonio has done a great job of reducing water use.  Since the mid 80’s the per capita water use has dropped by over one third which means that our population has grown by 300,000 since the early 90’s and we do not use anymore total water now than we did back then despite the population increase.  The savings were accomplished through a combination of system improvements (leak detection and repair), education and incentives.  The Ordinance, if City Council passes it on January 20th, will contribute another 2,440-acre feet savings per year (795 million gallons). 


Since the San Antonio Water System began work on the Water Conservation Ordinance over 4,000 individuals have offered their opinion on the provisions.  All of the remaining 16 provisions have had over 50% support.  In addition, discussions have been held with about 50 stakeholder groups whose members will be affected by the Ordinance.  A number of them including the Greater San Antonio Builder’s Association, San Antonio Real Estate Council, Turfgrass Producers, Car Wash Association and Gardening Volunteers of South Texas are supporting the Ordinance.


Here are some brief descriptions of the provisions in the Ordinance:


  • The centerpiece of the Ordinance are those provisions that require that all landscapes on new homes constructed after January 1, 2006 be low water use landscapes.  The provisions in this group require that there be 4 inches of soil under all turf grass, that irrigation systems be zoned to water turf apart from other plant types and that every housing development has a model with a xeriscape landscape.  In 2007, only the lawn grasses that are capable of surviving 60 days of drought can be used for new homes by contractors. 


  • Nothing is more wasteful than a sprinkler system that runs in the rain.  The Ordinance has a provision that requires all in-ground irrigation systems to have a rain sensor by 2006.  SAWS gives rebates for rain sensors.


  • Air conditioning condensate has the potential to replace huge amounts of potable water.  The San Antonio library produces 1.5 gallons of water per minute for most of the year.  That is more than enough water to keep their landscape well watered.  Beginning in 2006 newly constructed large buildings will have to pipe their condensate water to a central location to make it easier to use the water.


  • The Ordinance proposes to require that all properties of 5 acres or more that have an in-ground irrigation system complete an analysis of that system every year by May.  New irrigation systems must also utilize design features that reduce water waste violations.  Two of the features are keeping sprinkler heads at least 6 inches from impervious driveways and sidewalks, and strips under 6 feet in width be irrigated by something other than sprinkler heads (if they must be irrigated).


  • The Ordinance will require that companies that power spray impervious surfaces be certified and understand the City’s water quality protection and water conservation rules.


  • Car washes will be required by the Ordinance to be more efficient if they want to be certified as water efficient and charity car washes will need to be held at certified car washes.  The provision will reduce water waste, contamination from parking lots and it will increase revenues for the charities that use the fundraising tactic.


  • Cooling Towers can use huge amounts of water, especially if they are poorly managed.  The Ordinance will require that all Cooling Towers be managed to complete 4 cycles before they make a complete replacement of water.


If you want more information or would prefer to provide input on the SAWS website, it is  I hope to see you on January 11th at the Witte or on January 20th at the City Council meeting.