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Plummeting water levels at both Falcon and Amistad international reservoirs due to a prolonged drought, have prompted the largest city in Hidalgo County to implement water restrictions.

McAllen officials announced Stage 2 water conservation measures via a news release Tuesday.

The measures — which are mandatory — place restrictions on how residents can use water outdoors.

“Stage 2 restricts sprinkler system irrigation to only two days a week, during specific hours for each of the six zones the city has been divided into,” the news release stated.

McAllen officials announced Stage 2 water conservation measures via a news release Tuesday. (Courtesy graphic)

While the Stage 2 restrictions are in effect, residents will be limited to watering their lawns between midnight and 10 a.m., or between 6 p.m. and midnight only on their designated days.

Swimming pools may be filled during designated days from midnight until 8 a.m., or from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Using a sprinkler or irrigation system to water lawns and plants outside of those days can result in civil fines, the news release stated.

McAllen residents are also prohibited from allowing water to run into a gutter, drain or ditch, washing paved areas, holding car wash fundraisers, or using ornamental fountains that are not equipped with a water recycling system.

Commercial carwashes that are equipped with recycling systems may continue to operate, but for those wishing to hand wash their vehicles at home, the city reminds them to use a hose with a water cutoff.

Residential car washing is also limited to designated days, the release stated.

A car wash runs without a car as water restrictions take effect on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The new restrictions come as the combined water levels in the two international reservoirs that supply the Rio Grande Valley with water have fallen below 25%.

Falcon International Reservoir has fallen to just 10.4% of conservation capacity, according to figures from Water Data for Texas, a division of the Texas Water Development Board.

Further north, Amistad International Reservoir stands at 35.4% conservation capacity.

The Valley, and much of the state, is currently experiencing a prolonged drought coupled with record-breaking heat.

All four Valley counties are under moderate to severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

While precipitation levels have remained low, temperatures have continued to soar throughout the summer. Since June, the Valley has experienced 70 days of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or more, according to KRGV Weather.

A worker cleans a roof with a pressure washer as water restrictions take effect on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023, in McAllen. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

The hot and dry conditions are expected to continue well into the fall, according to meteorologists at the National Weather Service-Brownsville.

“Moderate to extreme drought is likely to continue without sufficient rainfall, especially in September,” NWS officials stated in an Aug. 30 presentation of their autumn weather outlook.

Lack of rainfall will continue to exacerbate plummeting lake levels, the NWS stated.

“The current level, and potential continued decrease in water storage levels will force additional communities to trigger water conservation in September and October — if the rains don’t come to the headwaters,” the NWS presentation stated.

“(I)t is important that as residents of the community, we follow the mandatory water restrictions out of necessity to ensure continued adequate water supply and pressure for the coming months,” Mark Vega, general manager of the McAllen Public Utility, said.

For more information on the city of McAllen’s five-stage water conservation plan, visit