The History of San Antonio Water

By Allie Perez for George Plumbing Company, Inc.
April 27, 2018

From its inception to its most renowned tourist attractions, San Antonio has always been obsessed with water. As San Antonio celebrates its Tricentennial year, we celebrate the origins of our historic city. As early as 1691, Spanish missionaries celebrated mass on the banks of the San Antonio River on the Feast Day of St. Anthony, the city namesake. One of the three oldest cities in Texas, San Antonio now tops elite tourism lists for the ever-evolving San Antonio Riverwalk. Since its birth, San Antonio always led the way to provide quality water to its residents.

While the area had been occupied by Native Americans as early as the 1500s, European settlers and missionaries did not begin settling until the 1700s. Like most modern Texas cities, they derive from the establishment of Spanish missions. The missionaries searched for suitable geography, natural defenses and proximity to water. San Antonio possess those attributes in abundance, which attracted the Spanish missionaries to establish Mission San Antonio de Valero (aka The Alamo) by the San Antonio River. To supply the missionaries with water and irrigation sources, they created acequias (irrigation tunnels), aqueducts and dams. Expertly built, these early water systems were so effective that a few still operate today!

Flooding and drought have always been a deep part of San Antonio history. Identified as an early challenge for the area, flooding hazards have plagued San Antonio consistently since its settlement forcing it to evolve and adapt. With the help of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and tax dollars, the city created two flood tunnels in the 1990s to offset the inevitable flash floods in the area. Adversely, long hot summers produce unrelenting droughts which required San Antonio Water System to initiate restrictions to ensure safe drinkable water year round.

The San Antonio water system may not have been able to boast about its advancements if not for a rare salamander intrinsic to the area. In the early 1990s a blind Texas salamander set San Antonio spinning to adjust to a court ruling for the protection of the critters. The ruling placed seemingly impossible restrictions on city-wide water usage during droughts. The mid-1990s brought additional restriction rulings forcing San Antonio to think creatively about water solutions. Without these restrictions, San Antonio may not have been prepared for population booms years later.

Ownership of the water system passed hands many times before finally settling on the current San Antonio Water System. From private local to out of state owners, municipality managed to board operated, no doubt the water system management and ownership has evolved over time. Despite ownership, obtaining multiple sources of water for San Antonio residents has always been a top priority due to inconsistent rain water.

Currently, the Vista Ridge Pipeline project hopes to bring the largest non-Edwards Aquifer supply in San Antonio history. The 142-mile long pipeline will run through multiple Texas counties parallel to the Interstate 35 corridor. The pipeline will channel groundwater from the Carrizo Aquifer. SAWS established an agreement with the owner of the groundwater leases to a 30-year term to solidify water for the future. Completion of the project anticipated for the year 2020.

Working to revitalize the area, The San Antonio River Authority (SARA) launched the San Pedro Creek Project to improve water function while highlighting San Antonio culture. A combination of public art, water conservation, lush landscaping, innovate design and celebration of history, San Pedro Creek Project set lofty goals with its four-phase project. With projects this inspiring, the future of San Antonio water projects is guaranteed to brim with creativity and culture.

Despite population booms, deadly flooding, multi-billion dollar projects and federal restrictions, San Antonio is still consistently rated one of the top water providers in the country. Providing high quality drinking water through creative outlets and multiple sources will fuel the future of San Antonio water and overall development of the city. Advanced and affordable water systems attract big business to cities like San Antonio. The future of San Antonio future flows brightly with the promise of reliable water through innovation.

Momma Told Us…

By Allie Perez for George Plumbing Company, Inc.
May 25, 2018

The month of May allows us to reflect and celebrate the magnanimity of our mothers. Whether raised by your mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, or other female relative, the term mother applies to all of those who nurture and raise young ones. Credited with wisdom, moms offer the best advice. Some advice was just good common sense: Do not eat yellow snow. And some advice did not make sense for decades: This too shall pass. One of our favorites: If you want something done right, do it yourself. Even though we are a plumbing company, we still believe that there are some plumbing problems you can fix yourself. On behalf of moms everywhere, we share a few DIY plumbing tips and tricks ANYONE can utilize. Plumbing repairs range in severity and cause.

A common repair for moms, toys down the toilet or garbage disposal. For most clogs in a toilet:

  • Pour hot water in toilet bowl and attempt to flush – If that does not move the clog, add some soap to the hot water and retry.

Cleaning your showerhead:

  • Want to win some brownie points? DO THIS FOR YOUR MOTHER!
  • Fill a gallon sized plastic Ziploc bag with vinegar
  • Place your showerhead in the filled bag
  • Use a hair tie or rubber band to tie it around the showerhead
  • Leave it soaking for hours
  • The result: a clean showerhead
  • For lyme stains, use a pumice stone

    Plumbing systems are complex and require regular maintenance to ensure all piping and appliances operate efficiently. Below we list a few tips to help with home plumbing maintenance and conservation:

    Eliminate Smells/Odors from Garbage Disposal
  • Add ice and lemon juice to the garbage disposal
  • Allow the water to run while the garbage disposal is in operation
  • Add some dish soap for a fresh, clean smell.

    Conserve water in Toilets
  • Fill a 20-ounce bottle of water
  • Place it in the toilet tank, away from the mechanisms
  • Less water will fill the tank, conserving water per flush.

    The Power of Power Tools
  • Hate cleaning your bathtub? Have a drill?
  • Put a scrubbing sponge on the end of your drill
  • Scrub away, with minimal effort!

    When it comes to major plumbing problems and installation of major appliances, we recommend calling in the professionals. However, you should keep in mind the following:
  • Do not be cheap
  • You can save yourself some major damage if you make sure not to skimp on the important stuff.
  • For example, if you choose to replace your water heater or toilet, purchase and install new emergency cut off valves and supply lines. It is tempting to try and save a few pennies, but: out with the old and in with the new. A leak from an old, worn supply line could cause major property damage.
  • Show everyone in the family how to turn off water at each fixture and the main water to the home; waiting until an emergency will create additional havoc. If everyone knows what to do when a leak occurs, it will help prevent additional property damage.

    Moms have enriched us with powerful wisdom. Hopefully, the above imparts some knowledge back to them. Thanks moms! While we highly encourage others to never miss an opportunity to learn a new skill, we also caution to know your limits. Plumbers are licensed and insured with decades of experience. When you need a plumber, do not hesitate, yell for George!