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Austin Lifts Emergency Water-Use Restrictions

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
Flooding along the Highland Lakes prompted Austin's boil-water notice last month and a handful of conservation measures to ease the strain on Austin Water's infrastructure.

The City of Austin has lifted emergency water-use restrictions enacted last month, as the city dealt with problems with water treatment following record flooding in the Highland Lakes.

Austin Water says customers can now resume outdoor watering that was banned under the emergency restrictions. Austin remains at so-called conservation stage restrictions.

"I want to thank our customers for their efforts to conserve water and especially during the recent emergency," said Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros in a press release Tuesday morning. "Austin Water is reviewing the data from the flooding event to determine what steps are necessary to ensure the resiliency of our systems."

Here’s an overview of water use that’s now permitted from Austin Water:

  • Conservation Stage Watering Restrictions increase the total number of hours available for watering via automatic irrigation systems to 15 hours (midnight – 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. - midnight)

All other watering restrictions remain unchanged including:

  • Once-per-week automatic irrigation watering schedule will continue for residential and commercial water customers
  • Twice-per-week hose-end irrigation watering schedule will continue for residential customers
  • Residents can continue the following irrigation methods:
    • drip irrigation 
    • hand-held watering with a hose
    • watering trees with bubblers or a soaker hose
  • Residential car washing is permitted with a bucket and/or hose with an automatic shut-off nozzle
  • Restaurants are prohibited from providing water unless requested by customers and must limit the use of patio misters to the hours between 4 p.m. and midnight

The emergency restrictions were put in place on Oct. 22, after water treatment problems due to flood debris and silt in Austin’s drinking water supply led to a shortage of potable water and caused Austin Water to issue a boil water notice.

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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