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Subject: Are HOAs under water restrictions during drought
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MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:402


09/10/2019 4:15 PM  
Hi All,
So my City notified it's residents that starting 9/13/19 we will begin water restrictions and residents are only allowed to water 1 day a week. They are requesting that based on the last number in your address you water on a specific day. Here are my questions.

1) Are HOAs considered a residential user? We pay Business rates.
2) Our HOA is located on over 500 acres of land with multiple park locations that we are responsible to water. How do you do that in one day of watering?
3) We have multiple water meters through out the community. Do we water based on the location of the meter?

We are located in near Austin, Tx. I called the City and the representative I spoke to seemed like this was the first time she had heard the question before. After about a minute on the phone she said we were under the same restrictions as residential customers. I just wonder if I was given the accurate answer or just given her opinion.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8497


09/10/2019 5:07 PM  
So what did you want to hear? You don't have to worry about the water restrictions as your not "residential"? Seriously, figure out a way to incorporate the water restrictions. Which sounds like they are doing based on address. Why can't that similar system work for your HOA?

Former HOA President
MarkW18
(Florida)

Posts:83


09/10/2019 5:11 PM  
Should be based on the meter billing address. Same as electricity.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:402


09/10/2019 5:35 PM  
Melissa,
Being a board president and a Rules guy I just want to make sure that we are not putting our HOA plants Trees, shrubs and parks in danger of not surviving till this drought ends. What if we are not included and we decide Zones on our systems.

Texas has many HOA subdivision and we all have similar assets. I was just hoping for feedback since this is the first time the "D" word has been used since I moved to Texas.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8497


09/10/2019 5:57 PM  
A HOA doesn't exempt you from the world. You all have addresses just like everyone else. The money for the water just comes out of your HOA budget. The application or the restriction there of still applies to the land.

Former HOA President
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:402


09/10/2019 6:08 PM  
Melissa,
The difference between an HOA and a home in an HOA are significant. A typical home in our development has a lot that is less than 1/5 an acre. Our common areas are vast including Parks, walking paths Pool areas and several lush entrances. By the HOA not maintain our common area it can cause home prices to suffer much more than the home that is next door to you on your block.

I am not trying to change any rules. We will follow any restrictions we are given that I will assure you. I am trying to figure out if it pertains to the association.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:391


09/10/2019 6:27 PM  
Mark, as a 22-year resident in north Texas in HOAs, and as an owner of management company, I can tell you in a single word the answer to your question: Yes (the association must comply). And, if this goes on long enough, and deep enough, you will lose landscaping.

The 'drought' you are hearing of now is a meteorological definition based of lack of expected rainfall compared to historical averages and trends. The city is choosing to act now rather than let available supplies run too low. We are a few hundred miles north of you, we are still under watering day restrictions from the last time. They were never lifted when the drought ended four or five years ago, the City ceased to enforce. They can turn on enforcement Monday morning if they wish.

Now, this is not the first drought restriction rodeo for the City of Austin, and probably not the first for your landscape contractor. The association is to comply with the watering hours restrictions at all times. The City should set the other association guidelines, something along the lines of association areas bounded by these streets will water on Monday, etc.

Your landscape contractor should know how the restrictions work, talk with them. Or, talk with the office in the city government responsible for setting the rules to be followed by residents and other entities. Most likely, this will not be the water service department although, they too, should be able to tell you or point you to a website.
DouglasK1
(Florida)

Posts:1439


09/10/2019 6:32 PM  
We have watering restrictions where I live but they are very clear on things like this. Residential addresses water day is determined by whether the address is odd or even. Anything non-residential (HOAs included) is considered commercial and they have a different day. Since we are also restricted to before 10am and after 6pm, it can make it difficult to cover a lot of zones on the appointed day.

Escaped former treasurer and director of a self managed association.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:402


09/10/2019 6:44 PM  
Bill,
Thanks for your comments. I have been reading your Texas posts for a while and was hoping to see your input as a Board member and also as a Manager.

We all need to love by the rules that are in place and adapt as best we can.

Thanks to All.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:771


09/10/2019 7:27 PM  
Yes here in Nevada. We are under heavy drought retractions. We even have a water nazi department that patrols neighborhoods for water waste. The watering restrictions are codified in the Nevada Revised Statutes.
If you are a board member, I would really come down on your landscapers to make sure there are no missing drip irrigation emitters. You the association would be on the hook not the landscapers.
KellyM3
(North Carolina)

Posts:1422


09/10/2019 7:44 PM  
Hi Mark,

Simply observe the water restrictions for every meter under your control.
BillH10
(Texas)

Posts:391


09/11/2019 8:01 AM  
Mark, I should expand a bit on my previous post.

I believe you live in a large community, 3000+ properties. The water agencies and large associations have found conventional watering day restrictions based on meter addresses or similar criteria do not always work for large associations. Ours has 9,000 plus members, several incorporated sub-associations, lakes, ponds, green areas, miles of street bordering landscaping, you name it.

You will find you are dealing with at least two association entities, perhaps more. My description below is how ours works in the city of McKinney, yours may follow a similar pattern:

1. Single family residences may water on the day of trash-pickup, and 3 days later. Watering restrictions begin first by eliminating the second watering day. I believe we eventually were on an every other week schedule. Drip systems are generally exempt. Our master and sub-associations have no input to these watering days, nor do they have the ability to enforce compliance as it is a city responsibility. City watering restrictions may eventually extend to washing vehicles, filling pools, and other non-essential uses of water. The HOAs were forced to modify compliance with certain landscaping requirements; the state mandated HOAs accept xeriscaping and other water saving/conservation measures.

2.The Association itself will have other watering day(s) for common areas specified by the city. In our case, the master association has tens to hundreds of meters, all have a common billing address and different service addresses. Provisions have been made to spread the watering days for associations to provide sufficient watering days and to avoid massive use of the water distribution systems on a single day.

3. Our sub-association has its own watering day separate from the master association as the sub-association is no different than the average HOA with only one or two hundred homes. We have irrigated common areas which are not the responsibility of the master association.

Our client HOAs and condominium communities, being smaller, follow whatever the city guidelines are for HOAs and condos, the single family residences are always responsible for following the city criteria such as trash day and trash day+3, defined city regions, or whatever.

Again, your landscape contractor for the association common areas and the city agency responsible for watering restrictions and compliance should be able to provide guidance.

Also, we are just moving into drought conditions. A week with one or two good storms can tilt the needle back into the green area on the drought meter. Make preparations and be ready to execute but do not include detailed articles in newsletters and such until you see where we are a month or two from now. If you do anything, start people thinking about how to reduce water consumption and save water. A simple example: we rinse the coffee carafe each morning when we are finished with coffee. Rather than pouring the rinse water down the drain, we water one or two of the potted plants in front or on the pool deck with it.

The last drought ended four or five years ago, we were in it for three or four years. It got pretty ugly toward the end. Looking around now, you can find little evidence of it.
MarkM19
(Texas)

Posts:402


09/11/2019 9:54 AM  
Bill,
Thanks for the details. I am hoping the weather will keep these changes from doing any major damage. Time will tell and we will adapt.

Our HOA is just under 1500 single family homes and luckily just 1 HOA board.
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