On Friday, June 11th, NewsChannel 11 was at city hall simply getting video of signs saying city hall was closed for the national day of mourning. That was at 11:30 A.M. and, much to our surprise, sprinklers were on at the very building where city council passed an ordinance one month ago prohibiting sprinkler use between the hours of 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. in Lubbock.
Mayor Marc McDougal says, "I didn't hear about that until this morning and immediately I asked Ches Carthel to look into that." Carthel, Public Works' Chief Engineer says, "I was a little surprised because the parks deptartment, we've worked closely with them and they supervise the irrigation systems. The city has and they're aware of the ordinance and the timing restrictions and irrigation restrictions and they've done a really good job working toward compliance."
Apparently, it was a stuck electrical valve that caused city hall's sprinklers to go off at the wrong time, and Mayor McDougal says the problem has been dealt with. He states, "It has been fixed, it was fixed very promptly this morning once we found out we had a problem."
Before city leaders passed the new water ordinance to begin with, they were adamant they wouldn't pass anything the city couldn't comply with itself. When the run-off provision was removed from the ordinance the parks department was confident it would immediately meet restrictions. Carthel admits, "We're going to stub our toe sometimes and we'll do our best to correct that."
Some good news to report: water usage on last month's peak day was actually down from the peak day in May of 2003, by 10 million gallons. Also, peak usage charts used to show their biggest spike at around six in the evening. Since the water ordinance went into effect, that peak has moved forward more than an hour to about seven or eight at night.