VICTORIA — The City of Victoria announced several recent water changes. The steps were taken to help ensure a long-term water supply and to more closely monitor aquifer levels, Mayor Jerry Kanzenbach said.

“It’s been sort of a struggle. We’re sort of landlocked when you’re looking for water, and everybody with a water source almost needs two water sources these days,” he said. “We just need to work on our well field.”

The city is bordered by Hays to the west and Russell to the east, and there currently aren’t viable water sources available to the north or south, he said.

Three new monitoring wells have been drilled, which allow information about water levels to be sent to city officials. That information will track how far the water level drops when the city’s wells are being pumped.

The city also plans to update water well equipment.

Trego 2 Rural Water District also has agreed to provide water to the community as a supplemental source, Kanzenbach said.

The city will have to lay a pipeline to receive that water and is in the process of obtaining a cost analysis from an engineering firm. The actual cost of that water also is not yet known.

Residents likely noticed an increase in this month’s city water bill. The fee structure was adjusted on July's meter readings to help pay for the new water infrastructure, he said.

The fee increase was effective June 29. The base rate for 2,000 gallons or less increased from $26 to $32. The city’s usage rate levels also were adjusted, with levels now at 2,000; 4,000; 6,000; 8,000; and above 8,000.

The City of Victoria has not increased water service rates since December 2012.

The city council also adopted a resolution moving the city from a Stage 3 to modified Stage 2 water warning. That change will give residents more ability to do limited outside watering, Kanzenbach said.

“Hopefully, we can ease restrictions to let people use some outside water … so they can do routine maintenance on their house and things like that,” he said. “We’re not allowing watering of turf or anything.”

Outside watering still will be banned between the hours of 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, but residents can hand-water trees and gardens and use outside water for home maintenance. Unattended hoses are not allowed, and there still cannot be lawn watering or filling of pools or hot tubs.

Officials will continue to monitor the water outlook and allow more outside watering when possible, he said.

In the meantime, resident are encouraged to keep conserving as much as possible and to use rain barrels and totes to collect precipitation to help with outside watering needs.