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Hundreds of Steiner Ranch properties get water cut off for violating restrictions

A man walking his dog looks at water sprinklers running in a sports field in 2018.
Gabriel C. Pérez
A sprinkler system runs in a South Austin athletic field in 2018.

Several hundred customers in the Steiner Ranch community were fined or had their water shut off over the past week for violating restrictions meant to conserve water.

Travis County Water Control and Improvement District No. 17 said it has been trying since July 5 to get violators in compliance of the restrictions, which include limiting irrigation to no more than two days a week.

"When the District began compliance enforcement efforts there were more than 1,900 customers identified that together were responsible for nearly 9 million gallons of water waste each week," the water district said in a statement Tuesday, noting the number of violators has since fallen to about 500 as of last week. The district said 232 customers have had their water shut off.

The utility said it accidentally shut off water to 22 customers who had recently started complying with the water restrictions. The district, which covers Steiner Ranch and some surrounding neighborhoods near Lake Austin, issued apologies to those customers and credited their accounts.

Overall, 98% of customers in the water district are following the rules, Travis County WCID No. 17 general manager Jason Homan said in a statement.

“We never enjoy having to take these steps but at the end of the day we here at WCID No.17 are responsible for ensuring a sustainable water supply for all of our customers and we must enforce our conservation restrictions,” Homan said. “... We encourage the remaining 2% of customers who continue to be in violation to abide by the water restrictions so that we may preserve our most precious resource.”

The water district said the ongoing drought in Central Texas means it’s in a difficult position with how it manages a limited supply of drinkable water.

To avoid a shut off, the district says customers should come into compliance with water restrictions as soon as possible.

The City of Austin is under a separate list of restrictions, which went into effect on Aug. 15. City residents can call 311 to report a violation.

Were you in compliance with water restrictions but your service was shut off? Email

Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter, with a focus on Travis County. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @hayapanjw.
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