Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Georgetown, the fastest-growing city in the U.S., is struggling to meet its water demands. Why?

 A man and a woman speak behind a podium. A mural depicting a lake is seen in the background.
Kailey Hunt
Georgetown City Manager David Morgan and Water Utility Director Chelsea Solomon speak to reporters at a press conference about the city's water supply at the City of Georgetown Council and Court Building on Tuesday, July 25, 2023.

The fastest-growing city in U.S. and home to more than 86,000 people is struggling to meet its water demands.

At a press conference Tuesday, Georgetown officials blamed the struggle on excessive irrigation, water supply challenges and severe drought conditions.

"The largest driver of why we're in restrictions today, is specifically ... the heat that we're experiencing and the amount of water that's having to be demanded in order to keep to keep grass green," City Manager David Morgan said.

Morgan estimated that about 75% of the city's total daily water use goes toward outdoor watering and irrigation.

The challenge is exacerbated, Morgan said, by the rehabilitation of one of the city's two water treatment plants: The Southside Water Treatment Plant, which is currently offline and unable to contribute to the city's water supply, is estimated to return to operating at full capacity in October.

Morgan also said the city has not been receiving its full contracted amount of water – 3 million gallons of water a day – from the neighboring City of Leander for water customers located in Georgetown's western service area.

As a result, around 35% of the city's water customers remain prohibited from using outdoor irrigation and hose-end sprinklers. A temporary ban on all outdoor watering in the city was put into place earlier this month.

Water customers located in the western side of the City of Georgetown’s service area (areas west of D.B. Wood Road and southwest of Williams Drive) will remain under Stage 3 water restrictions until Sept. 4, city officials said. This includes the neighborhoods of Parkside, Santa Rita, Liberty Hill ETJ, Parmer Ranch and Water Oak.

Stage 3 water restrictions means:

  • No outdoor watering with irrigation system or hose-end sprinkler
  • No splash pad or ornamental fountain operation (all city splash pads will be closed)
  • No washing vehicles at home
  • No commercial patio misters allowed outside of 4-8 p.m.
  • No installation of sod or turf grass
  • No filling of outdoor spas or hot tubs; pools, including city-maintained pools, will be allowed to remain open, as water use is minimal

Outdoor watering with a hand-held hose or bucket, however, is allowed at any time.

 A map of the City of Georgetown's water service area is displayed, as well as outlines of areas currently experiencing water restrictions.
Courtesy of the City of Georgetown
A map of the City of Georgetown's current water restrictions.

All other water customers in the City of Georgetown have returned to Stage 2 restrictions, which also allow outdoor watering with a hand-held hose or bucket:

Morgan said it's critical that water customers follow the rules to avoid any additional restrictions.
"The focus of it is to make sure we have safe drinking water and that we have safe pressure to where we can respond to fires and emergency situations," he said.

Kailey Hunt is KUT's Williamson County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @KaileyEHunt.
Related Content