I don’t think there’s anything mysterious about this.
Water usage has dropped nearly 20 percent since citywide restrictions were ordered in mid-August, possibly because residents have reluctantly complied and temperatures are dropping.
Houston was pumping 647 million gallons a day when Mayor Annise Parker instituted the restrictions on Aug. 15. Usage peaked at 672 million gallons Sept. 15, but hit a low of 518 million on Oct. 1.
Public works can’t pinpoint which factor caused the drop. High water bills, increased awareness of the restrictions and much-needed rain may have contributed as well.
“You can’t really tell,” said Alvin Wright, spokesman for the Public Works and Engineering Department. “There’s no way to really put a finger on that other than the fact that the temperature is not evaporating people’s lawns as quick.”
Seems to me the three factors cited in the third paragraph cover it pretty well. If we get some more rain, we’ll see usage stay down. If Mayor Parker lifts the restrictions, we’ll likely see usage creep back up. The question to me continues to be whether we’ll take steps to encourage reduced usage on an ongoing basis. I don’t see that happening now, but the longer this drought lasts, the more probable that becomes.