They're breathing a sigh of relief at the San Antonio Water System, but the utility is also warning that 2014 could see the toughest water restrictions ever, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  SAWS has been able to maintain relatively mild Stage Two water restrictions throughout 2013, even while neighboring utilities, and the Edwards Aquifer Authority, have moved to much stricter Stage Three.


  SAWS' Anne Hayden says it looks like we have made it through the worst of the 2013 season, and there is no reason to believe that tougher water restrictions will be necessary this year.


  "The Aquifer levels are improving slowly but surely, with these little rains we're getting, and the fact that people are using less water as we go into fall," she said.


  Hayden says fall and winter should be okay, but when things begin to heat up next spring, there could be serious trouble.


  "Aquifer levels will still be in Stage Two going into the beginning of the new year, and that is something which is not historical in nature, it is usually much higher," she said.


  That's because as the drought persists, we fall further and further behind the historical average for whatever time of year we are in. 


  For example, the Aquifer level today of about 637 feet, is up substantially over the past week as rainfall has replenished it.  But the current level is more than 27 feet below its historic average for October 9.  Last October 9th, the Aquifer was at 647 feet, more than ten feet higher.


  The Austin Water Authority says it is seriously contemplating not only banning the use of all outdoor sprinklers at all times, but even restricting the amount of water residents can use inside their homes for drinking and for bathing.  Austin gets most of its drinking water from the Highland Lakes, which are now about 31% full, their lowest level ever.