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City looks into soaring water usage in Buda neighborhood

More than 34,000 gallons of water consumed in the Cullen Country and Whispering Hollow subdivisions in July prompted a city of Buda investigation into overall water usage.

According to the city’s inquest, which measured water meter readings from January to July, Cullen Country consumed the most water in five of out of the six months. White Oak Preserve consumed the most water during the month of May, with Cullen Country finishing second.

Cullen Country, which has 205 meters, or homes hooked up to Buda’s water system, consumed 2,000 more gallons of water overall than Whispering Hollow, which has over 900 meters.

Even so, Whispering Hollow remained as one of the top three water using neighborhoods in Buda.

Garlic Creek, the second most populous neighborhood at 750 homes, finished in the top 5 of highest water users.

Ashford Park and Oldtown ranked in the lowest water usage categories throughout the data period.

The July meter numbers stunned Buda city officials, who in mid-July issued a press release reminding residents of the city’s water conservation ordinance.

Under Buda’s conservation ordinance, residents must adhere to year-round water use allowances and restrictions, regardless if the city falls into one of four stages of drought.

Stage 1 water restrictions in Buda were lifted in February.

Buda Mayor Todd Ruge said in a later interview that Buda residents were doing well in regards to water conservation and that water usage has only gone up in the last 6 months.

Ruge attributes the high usage in Cullen Country to the larger yards at each house as well as possibilities of water sprinkler system malfunctions.

“Right now we have an anomaly,” Ruge said. “We are having a special called meeting before the city council meeting on Sept. 19 to educate the public on water conservation and water usage.”

In response to the high meter readings across the board for Buda neighborhoods in July, Buda Assistant City Manager Micah Grau said the “city is working diligently to resolve customer’ ‘concerns.”

“Staff is sending reports to customers concerning their usage and is manually checking meter reads to verify they are correct,” Grau said. “In some cases, customers have identified leaks and in those cases the city has a leak protocol to assist customers.”

The city’s water conservation ordinance was only put into effect in mid-July of this year and city officials say they are in the process of updating the ordinance.

“The city is enforcing the conservation ordinance as it exists today in regards to water waste,” Grau said. “The city is not currently under any non-voluntary water restrictions.”

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