City leaders are now blaming the water restrictions on a breakdown in communication. The stage four water restrictions that have turned off the sprinklers over the past week may have been avoided if the line of communication between the city and TxDot was clear. This issue stems from the need to relocate a water line at the Marsha Sharp Freeway project and TxDot's requirement that the project be done by August 1st requiring the work to be done during the summer. And the summer is the time each year that Lubbock's need for water is the greatest.
The apology came from Deputy City Manager Tom Adams. Speaking in front of the council and all those in attendance, Adams said he could and should have notified the council about all of this before it came down to stage four water restrictions.
Adams said, "Let me begin by making a public apology if I might. This is an inconvenience for citizens. It is much more than an inconvenience for many businesses."
Adams went on to explain his decision to move a major water line during the summer; a decision that has forced Lubbockite to cut their water use.
"It was my assumption that we should proceed and complete the project even though the august deadline forces us to do construction in the summer. That was my assumption. It was my decision and I could have notified, should have notified council accordingly. This is not just a water distribution line that takes water two a few homes, this is a water supply line and we were not able to communicate that effectively to TxDot, even the August 1st deadline, they still don't understand how significant that is to the city," said, Adams.
But construction deadlines aren't the only factor.
Adam's added, "The rains we have had, we saw we were not going to be able to complete this project, pushing us into the summer months, our staff insured we could meet the essential needs and I made another assumption if we could meet essential needs, we would be Okay"
Lubbock Mayor Pro Tem, Jim Gilbreath said, "I don't want to point fingers but I will say that there was, it looks to me that there was a significant communications breakdown and Tom got up and apologized and I appreciate him doing that."
Hours after Adams' public apology, the mayor met with landscapers and businesses around town. While no water restrictions were lifted or eased, they were clarified. You can landscape but it's recommended that you make efforts to conserve. And hand held watering of flower beds is allowed along with some filling of pools. Sprinklers are still not allowed.
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