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Marble Falls residents and business owners now face costlier consequences for violating water restrictions. The City Council on June 4 unanimously approved raising punitive fees by as much as 200 percent for water users who violate Stage 3 rules four times in one year. 

The new fees went to effect with the Tuesday vote and are shown below.

A table of the new fees for city of Marble Falls water users who violate Stage 3 restrictions. Fees listed under the ‘proposed’ column are under effect as of June 4, 2024. Screen-captured image

Mayor Dave Rhodes explained how pressure from the Lower Colorado River Authority fed into the council’s decision to hike fees.

“LCRA for the longest time, at Stage 3 and Stage 4, was always requesting a 20-percent reduction in overall water consumption,” he told DailyTrib.com. “Now, they’ve put teeth in it. If we don’t meet those goals, we’re going to get fined.”

For Rhodes, the increase was not made lightly.

“I hate doing it,” he said. “I hate punitive (fees). Even when we went to Stage 4 (water restrictions in 2023), I refused to allow the fines to take place.”

Councilor Bryan Walker pointed to the watering habits of a handful of residents and businesses as the driving force behind the decision. 

“It’s always a few bad apples that make it an issue for everyone else, but what we’re doing isn’t working,” he told DailyTrib.com. “We have to get everyone into compliance.”

Rhodes encouraged residents to take on water conservation as a community.

“Rather than us looking at individually, I’d like for us as a community to think, ‘What if we all did our part?’” he said. “We’re in this together. We own one water system and draw from one source. We need to make it a ‘we’ thing instead of a ‘me’ thing.”

He specifically pointed out lawn watering practices as a major draw on the city’s resources.

“Irrigation is the number one consumer of water,” Rhodes said. “It’s not showering or flushing or drinking.”

Walker offered suggestions to residents wanting to be more mindful of their water consumption.

“If you use less sprinklers and more hand watering and get more direct watering, it’s an awesome tool,” he said. “I hand water my own yard. I haven’t put a sprinkler system in for seven years.”

He also proposed a recreational alternative to cooling off the kids with lawn sprinklers during the hot summers. 

“I’m a big proponent of finding ways to meet community needs, so that we don’t have 30 to 40 residents kicking on sprinklers at the same time for kids to play in,” Walker said. “Let’s get a splash pad or something that shuts off when nobody is there.”

Councilors Lauren Haltom and Richard Westerman were absent from the June 4 meeting.

STAGE 3 WATER RESTRICTIONS

Stage 3 limits the watering of landscaped areas to once a week between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. based on the following schedule:

  • residential addresses ending in an odd number on Tuesdays
  • residential addresses ending in an even number on Thursdays
  • commercial even-numbered addresses on Mondays
  • commercial odd-numbered addresses on Fridays
  • public schools on Wednesdays

Watering by hand-held hose with a positive shut-off device, drip irrigation systems, or a faucet-filled bucket or watering can of 5 gallons or less is allowed at any time.

nathan@thepicayune.com

1 thought on “Marble Falls hikes fees for water restriction rule breakers

  1. The city should encourage residents to use rain catch Systems for lawn watering needs. They should also be requiring all the new developments to install purple water lines to use for irrigation needs. Treated effluent is better for lawns anyway.

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