Introducing SAWS’ 5-year Water Conservation Plan

Learn how SAWS aims to meet our water use reduction goals and maintain the vitality of our growing community, especially during drought.

If you’ve lived in San Antonio very long, you know our city boasts a unique, vibrant culture. And just like breakfast tacos, water conservation has long been part of our “Puro San Antonio” vibe.

Conservation initiatives have helped maintain low water costs, manage water resources sustainably and reduced the need for supplemental water supplies. Since the last five-year plan was released in 2019, more than 7.5 billion gallons of water have been saved through conservation programs, education and enforcement.

But there’s more that can be done. This is where the five-year Water Conservation Plan comes in.

The 2024 population forecast projects SAWS will gain 1.5 million new customers by 2070, bringing the area population to 3.5 million people. The updated plan outlines how SAWS aims to meet our water use reduction goals and maintain the vitality of our growing community, especially during drought.

Certain information must be included in the plan to meet state requirements. This includes gallons per capita per day targets, metering programs, water loss and rate structures.

Beyond the required items, SAWS tries to capture its understanding of how the community uses water today and how we help customers conserve through communication, education, customer programs and using data to make informed decisions.

SAWS has a long and proud history of offering indoor and outdoor conservation programs for all customers, ensuring they have the opportunity to participate and reduce their water bills in affordable ways. This tradition continues in the 2024 plan.

In addition, the plan contains more information on the purple pipe and recycled water system, rules for commercial dedicated irrigation customers, and highlights the work of the Conservation phone team. It also emphasizes SAWS’ long history of successful community partnerships and sets the stage for continued and new partnerships in the future.

The biggest changes revolve around the proposed drought rule changes, which envision the following:

  • Having rules outlined in the SAWS utility service regulations so that rules apply equally to all SAWS customers, regardless of municipal boundaries.
  • Shifting the consequence of non-compliance from a municipal citation to a charge on the SAWS bill so the consequence is equal for all SAWS customers.
  • Implementing a new Stage 3 that includes a high use surcharge aimed at encouraging the top 5% of water users to reduce outdoor water consumption.
  • Executing a SAWS-based irrigation plan review and operational inspection over the next two years for all new irrigation systems added to SAWS metered accounts.
  • Changing watering hours to enable more early morning watering times and shifting evening hours away from peak energy demand times.

These efforts will help the community achieve a 10% reduction in demand when we need it the most: during drought.

More information about the proposed drought rule changes and the water conservation plan is available at Your feedback and questions are welcome. Reach out to us at .

Picture of Brad Wier
Brad Wier
Brad Wier is a SAWS conservation planner. Years in South Texas landscaping and public horticulture gave him a lasting enthusiasm for native plants that don’t die when sprinklers -- and gardeners -- break down. He’d rather save time and water for kayaking and tubing. He is a former kilt model, and hears hummingbirds.
Dig Deeper

Find expert advice on garden basics, landscape design, watering and year-round maintenance.