Stage 3 water restrictions implemented across JBSA

  • Published
  • By Lori Bultman
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Due to recent rains, all Joint Base San Antonio installations have returned to Stage 3 water restrictions. While residing in the Alamo Region, it is important to understand how restrictions may vary depending on where you live. 

JBSA is under Stage 3 water restrictions, while the City of San Antonio, in areas serviced by San Antonio Water Systems, or SAWS, remains at Stage 2.  

On JBSA, landscape watering with an irrigation system, sprinkler or soaker hose is allowed every other week only from 7 to 11 a.m.  and 7 to 11 p.m. on your designated watering day as determined by your address or facility number. There is no watering on weekends. 

Watering with a hand-held hose is allowed any time on any day, but the use of yard pools, dunk tanks, or similar equipment is prohibited. 


Additionally, Civil Engineer ground crews and base residents are prohibited from planting grass and plants during Stage 3 restrictions, except when absolutely essential. 

These restrictions may differ from those implemented outside of JBSA due to a U.S Fish and Wildlife Service-issued biological opinion which requires JBSA to follow the Critical Period Management Plan, or CPMP, to ensure compliance with the Endangered Species Act, according to Tray Cooper, JBSA natural resource specialist.  

The CPMP establishes the triggers and criteria for each stage, and requires that JBSA not exceed the monthly maximum groundwater withdrawal for each of the critical period stages, he said.  

To determine which stage and what restrictions should be in place on JBSA, the water levels are measured at 3 specific locations, Bexar (J-17 well), Comal Springs (springflow) and San Marcos Springs (springflow). The 10-day average determines the JBSA restriction stage, in accordance with the JBSA Critical Period Management Plan.  

Compliance with the plan is a requirement for all individuals on JBSA, to include employees, housing residents, privatized housing residents, contract personnel and mission partners, Cooper said.  

“The Edwards Aquifer is the sole source of potable water for most of JBSA and the greater San Antonio area, and the implementation of effective water conservation measures are necessary to ensure their future growth and economic sustainability,” he said. “Not only is the aquifer the main source of water for San Antonio and JBSA, it also supports several threatened and endangered species and their habitats.” 

JBSA did briefly go into Stage 4 water restrictions, and these could be re-implemented on JBSA, depending on continuing drought conditions, Cooper said. Experts are watching closely the water level at the Edwards Aquifer.  

As for the difference in stages within the region, a June press release from SAWS stated non-Edwards Aquifer water supplies utilized by SAWS, and continued customer compliance with Stage 2 rules, will make up for the reduced Edwards pumping requirements, and allows them to continue Stage 2 restrictions at the direction of San Antonio’s city manager.  

If you live in the City of San Antonio and not on JBSA, your Stage 2 watering restrictions are the same as in Stage 1, in accordance with your street address. Watering systems or soaker hose watering are allowed once per week between 7-11 a.m. and 7-11 p.m. on your designated day. Watering with a hand-held hose in San Antonio is allowed any time on any day. 

To avoid further restrictions on water usage, Cooper encourages all JBSA members, whether residing on military installations or in the community, to conserve water as much as possible. 

“Until we receive a significant amount of rain in the area, restrictions will continue to worsen unless we all do our part to conserve water,” Cooper said.  

“In the event we re-enter Stage 4, all the restrictions of Stage 3 apply except: installation of new turf is prohibited; lawn or turf watering is prohibited; landscapes may be watered by a 1-inch diameter or less hand-held garden hose, soaker hose, or a five gallon or less bucket every two weeks between the hours of 3 and 8 a.m. and 8 and 10 p.m. on days according to the table; athletic fields maybe watered once every two weeks between the hours of 3 and 8 a.m. and 8 and 10 p.m. on days according to the table; government and privately owned vehicle washing not allowed except in extreme circumstances approved in advance by the JBSA commander,” Cooper said.  

To report violations of the JBSA Critical Period Management Plan on any JBSA installation, call the JBSA Environmental Office at 210-295-7576.