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Partial Stage 2 Water Restrictions May Be Here to Stay

amorton via flickr

The City of Austin has been under Stage 2 water restrictions since 2010. That means you cannot wash your car at home, and restaurants cannot serve water unless a customer asks for it. Presumably all of these restrictions are temporary, as the City of Austin has the ability to declare a new Level at any time, from the lowest Level 1 up to the most restrictive Level 4.

But, says Jaydell Hines of Austin Water, the city is now considering making permanent one of these Stage 2 restrictions: one-day-per-week watering.

Council Member Don Zimmerman disagrees. He said in a recent meeting he would ask the full council to support returning to the pre-drought Stage 1 water restrictions. The Highland lakes are now 88 percent full – compare that to the summer of 2014, when they hovered just above 30 percent. So why should we not embrace Zimmerman’s request, and loosen our water restrictions? Hines says, not so fast – the city should plan ahead for future unpredictable weather.

“Looking ahead, we can see some changes in weather patterns, and where rain is falling, and the duration of rain, and the fact that it comes in great amounts, and that those time periods between those large events have become a bit elongated,” he says.

The City is doing a series of public meetings for residents to weigh in on whether the current one-day-per-week watering restriction should be permanent. The first meeting will be held tonight between 6 and 8 p.m. at the Hampton Branch Library at 5125 Convict Hill Rd, 78749. You can also submit feedback through an online form here.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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