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Central Texas experienced historic winter weather the week of Feb. 14, with a stretch of days below freezing. Sleet followed snow followed freezing rain, leading to a breakdown of the electric grid and widespread power outages. Water reservoirs were depleted and frozen pipes burst, leaving some without service for days.

Austin Water Lifts Boil Notice, Says Water Is Safe To Drink

Austin's boil-water notice was lifted for all customers Tuesday morning.
Gabriel C. Pérez
Austin's boil-water notice was lifted for all customers Tuesday morning.

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The boil-water notice has been lifted for all Austin Water customers. Residents no longer need to boil their tap water before drinking it or cooking with it.

“Today we can report that Austin’s water system has been restored to normal operations and the boil water notice has been lifted for all our customers,” Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said in a press release. “There is still a lot to do to repair water pipelines that were damaged by the freezing weather, but customers should only experience occasional impacts from that work. We are thankful for the community’s efforts to conserve water over this past week to help us restore our operations today.”

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To make sure fresh water is flowing through the pipes, Austin Water says customers should run cold water through their faucets for one minute; empty automatic ice makers, make three batches of ice and discard them; and run water softeners through a regeneration cycle.

Austin Water

The boil-water notice was originally put in place last Wednesday as a precaution after a power outage at Austin Water’s largest water-treatment facility. That combined with leaks from freeze-damaged pipes led to a drop in water pressure — and, for many customers, no water at all.

The utility asked the community to conserve water and put water-use restrictions in place to help restore the system. Customers started getting water service back over the weekend. Meszaros said Monday that service and pressure have been restored, but some residents may still be without water because of broken water mains caused by the freeze.

Most areas of Austin were removed from the boil-water notice Monday after passing water quality tests, but residents in Northwest and Southwest Austin were being told to still boil water. Austin Water said Tuesday that all zones of its service area have passed water quality tests, and the water is safe for consumption for all customers.

The utility says residents can resume their regular indoor water use, but mandatory restrictions remain in place for now to help make sure there’s enough water to meet needs as the system returns to normal. Customers can’t:

  • Use water for irrigation or testing of irrigation equipment
  • Wash vehicles, including at commercial car washes
  • Wash pavement or other surfaces
  • Add water to a pool or spa
  • Conduct foundation watering, or
  • Operate an ornamental fountain or pond, other than aeration necessary to support aquatic life

In a press release sent out Tuesday night, Austin Water said it now has enough water in its reserves and will lift the restrictions Wednesday at 8 a.m.

This story has been updated.

Marisa Charpentier is KUT's assistant digital editor. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.
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