Austin Water

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin's water utility says it's continuing to flush out water lines tainted with foul-smelling water that has plagued residents since last Thursday

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The zebra mussel stench plaguing residents' faucets should be gone in the next couple of days, the Austin Water Department said Monday.

Ángelo González / Wikimedia Commons

It's now been three days of smelly tap water for large parts of Austin, likely caused by the presence of zebra mussels in a water line. The city's water utility is asking customers to call 311 and report their location if they are still experiencing issues. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife

Twenty-four hours later, Austin Water says it's still unsure when the odd smell coming from tap water in certain parts of the city will dissipate. The water utility said yesterday morning it would resolve the issue within a day, but that estimate has come and gone and it's unclear what the timeline is going forward.

Larry D. Hodge / Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

If you think your tap water smells strange today, you're not alone. 

South and Central Austin residents began noticing the unusual smell Thursday morning. Austin Water initially said work on a waterline was to blame, but in an afternoon update, the utility said it was likely caused by the presence of zebra mussels in a raw water pipeline.

Austin Water delivered an “after action” report to City Council today on the weeklong boil-water order enacted during severe flooding in October. During its presentation, the utility shed more light on what happened to bring about the emergency and what the city might do to avoid future water-boil mandates.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austinites may soon be getting more information on why they had to boil their tap water last month.

The Austin City Council on Thursday ordered the City Manager’s Office to provide a report by Dec. 11 on the water-boil and conservation mandates.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

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.

Emree Weaver/KUT

Austin Water officials have lifted a boil-water notice for all its customers that’s been in place since Monday. They say the water is now safe to drink straight from the tap.

Audrey McGlinchy / KUT

Update: Austin's boil-water notice has been lifted. Find out more here.

Original story:

Austin Water officials say the water utility is on track to end its boil-water notice by Sunday evening at the latest.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As the old saying goes, “You don’t miss your water till your well runs dry.”

But rather than sit around missing your water, it may be wiser to ask some simple questions: “Why did the well run dry?” “How did the well work in the first place?”

Emree Weaver for KUT

As problems with Austin’s water supply continue, the recommendation is to boil tap water for three minutes before consuming it. Most other uses are fine. But there are plenty of people out there who can’t feasibly boil all the water they — or their families — need.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

An overnight spike in silt in Austin's tap water triggered an official boil-water notice from state regulators.

The water briefly exceeded the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s regulatory standards for drinking water quality, surpassing a limit of 5 turbidity units. The city's earlier boil-water notice was only precautionary.

Julia Reihs / KUT

After a day of uncertainty, Austin officials say the city's boil-water notice could be lifted as soon as this weekend.

Julia Reihs / KUT

A boil water notice remains in effect for Austin Water customers, and the city of Austin is pleading for people to slash their water consumption by 15 to 20 percent. Outdoor water use is being banned as part of what officials describe as an emergency situation. 

Travis County’s emergency management chief said the situation could last up to two weeks.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin Water officials are issuing an "urgent call" for people to reduce water usage immediately, as the utility struggles with debris, silt and mud in the water supply after historic flooding in the Highland Lakes. Lake Travis is the source of Austin's drinking water.

"Austin Water is experiencing reduced water treatment capacity," the utility said in an email. "It is taking more time to remove the higher levels of silt and debris."

The level of cloudiness in the lake water has increased by more than 100 times, according to Austin Water.

What's Up With The Odd-Looking Tower On 51st Street?

May 14, 2018
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Anyone looking down while flying in or out of Austin has likely seen the odd tower with a bowl-shaped top and uneven paint job rising above the Mueller neighborhood.

The landmark puzzled KUT listener Ryan Ellerd Jones, so he asked about it for our ATXplained series.

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: The program manager for Austin Water’s Public Information & Marketing Office resigned in late December after an investigation by the Office of the City Auditor concluded that he had accepted a gift or favor from a city contractor and wasted city money in payments to that contractor.

Via Pixabay

The water utility for the City of Austin is hosting two meetings today –  one in the morning and one this afternoon – to look at how Austinites pay for water. The meetings are part of a process called a cost of service rate study that could determine how water rates are calculated in coming years.  

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Every time the weather changes, the City of Austin either makes money or takes a hit to its bottom line. That’s because Austin owns its own water and electric utilities. Their revenue is tied to what it’s like outside, and the weather this year has upset a lot of expectations.


City Plans Improvements for Water Infrastructure

Jul 27, 2016
Laszlo Ilyes via flickr

The Texas Water Development Board approved two loans this month to fund water infrastructure improvements in Austin. These loans total over $167 million and are aimed at the long-term use of water in the city. That money will fund two different projects, one of which will replace the city’s current water meter system with smart meters. Bech Bruun, Chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, said that this will increase accuracy and timeliness of information about water use.

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.


flickr.com/bcfoto

Austin Water says it has received more than 10,000 phone calls about unusually high bills since August. So Austin City Council member Don Zimmerman proposed a solution: partial reimbursements from the city.

The only problem is, for the most part, that’s not legal.


flickr/deanster1983

Austin City Council members say they continue to get calls from residents with abnormally high water bills, and now one Council member is now asking the city to pay.


amorton via flickr

Some City of Austin residents have recently seen high water bills compared to previous months – as much as four times the typical amount by some accounts – and some are wondering if the city’s at fault.


Laszlo Ilyes via flickr

From the Austin Monitor: The Public Utility Commission of Texas started a process Friday that could ultimately require Austin Water to reset water and wastewater rates for a group of customers that has challenged the city.

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): Filipa Rodrigues for KUT, flickr.com/photos/atmtx , Filipa Rodrigues for KUT and flickr.com/photos/bougher7

This election, Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts. So, we’ve been taking a look at each of the city's 10 new districts.

In the final installment in our series, KUT's Joy Diaz takes a look at District 10, which covers Tarrytown, Spicewood Springs Road, Northwest Hills and ends just at U.S. Highway 183.

There are many issues District 10 neighbors would like the new Austin City Council to address, but water is one that gets folks here pretty animated. Specifically, how the city addresses the drilling of private wells.

Mose Buchele/KUT

From StateImpact Texas:

The funny thing about Walter E. Long Lake is that most people don't know it exists.

The lake, tucked into a rural-feeling part of Northeast Austin is big, by Austin standards. It can hold more water than Austin's two central city lakes -- Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake -- combined. It was created to host a power plant, which it's done for for nearly 50 years. That's how it got its other name: Decker Lake.

But last week, Austin's city council approved a plan to wean Austin off Decker Power Plant electricity, opting to shutter the plant to lower citywide carbon emissions. If that happens, the lake could serve as Austin’s new city reservoir.

Facebook.com/AustinWater

Austin area residents may see some smoke today as the result of a prescribed burn.

Officials warn that smoke may be visible west of Buda and south of FM 1826 from mid-morning until sunset. Citizens are urged to keep the prescribed burn in mind and exercise caution when contacting emergency services about any smoke.

Austin Water

Cooking grease may be an afterthought for some, but as London discovered this week, grease can become a costly, time consuming problem. The city was forced to remove 15,000 tons of gunky, fatty buildup from its sewage pipelines, a so-called "Fatberg" the size of a double-decker bus.

It looks like Austin may have steered clear of the Fatberg, however: Austin has a smaller sewer system and diligent monitoring. But it’s easy to see how quickly grease buildups can transform themselves into a major cost: a 12 month summary of sanitary sewer overflows reveals that six incidents in April cost Austin Water $25,500.

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