City sprinklers left running for 12 hours on Monday

City sprinklers left running for 12 hours on Monday

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Some Lubbock citizens are questioning the City of Lubbock's water usage after the sprinklers around University Avenue and 40th Street were left on for 12 consecutive hours Monday.

One resident who lives near the area said she thought it rained overnight, after she woke up Tuesday morning to the sound of cars splashing through water.

Another resident said the excess water streamed at least two miles down University.

City of Lubbock Park Operations Manager Stewart Gerhart said the department did not even know about the problem until a caller informed them Tuesday morning.

They discovered the sprinkler system had a valve stuck with a piece of debris that kept the diaphragm of the irrigation open, which Gerhart said is relatively common even with homeowners.

Despite these types of incidents in Lubbock, citizens have conserved a lot more water than they may think since the start of Stage 2 of Lubbock's Drought Contingency Plan last June.

From May to August 2014, Lubbock has used 282 million gallons less than the same time period in 2013.

"We feel like it was definitely worth us being in stage two," said Aubrey Spear, Lubbock's Director of Water Resources.

The conservation is not just a result of the contingency plan, Spear said.

"Those rain events that we have received helps tremendously, because people will back off on the watering when they get the rainfall," he said. "We noticed a drop just last week when we got that about a half-inch of rain."

On average, Spear said Lubbock uses about 14 billion gallons of water a year.

"Our groundwater, although it's there and it doesn't evaporate, when we use it, it's gone," he said, "so we like to balance the two between surface water and ground water."

If Lubbock citizens continue to conserve water at this rate, Spear said it could help the city avoid having to build new transmission line to tap into additional water resources. About 20 percent of Lubbock's water supply comes from Lake Alan Henry and Lake Meredith, and 80 percent comes from groundwater.

"It would cost millions and millions of dollars to do that," he said, "so it saves everyone money on their water bills up and into the future if they will conserve water now."

While Spear commends Lubbock residents for the amount of water they have conserved, he hopes they will keep it up because there are no plans yet to lift the restrictions.

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