AUSTIN (KXAN) - Because of a wetter-than-expected winter and spring, city officials are lifting Stage 2 water restrictions on Monday.
Austin Water Utility spokesman Jason Hill joined KXAN News Today to talk about the specifics and just what it means for those who want their lawn back to normal.
"It's good news for our Austin customers and Austin residents that they're able to have a little more latitude when it comes to watering," said Hill. "However, we do want to make sure that we reiterate that we are still in a drought. Last year, Mother Nature really smacked us. I mean, the drought flared up."
With very little inflow of water into the lake system, Hill said it was a tough year. After looking at various parameters, he said it was time to lift Stage 2.
"The low-hanging fruit in regards to water conservation is outdoor irrigation. That's where a lot of our water use is during the year, those summer months," said Hill.
The decision by City Manager Marc Ott comes with the near-term outlook improving.
"Austin Water customers have been fantastic in water conservation over the last 10 years," said Hill, who said that was a factor in Ott's decision. "And that's very important because now the city manager is confident that our customers can responsibly continue to use water with the Stage 2 restrictions lifted."
Additionally, the Lower Colorado River Authority has significantly curtailed interruptible agricultural customers resulting in a reduced potential for a sudden drop in lake storage compared to previous years.
"We're not expecting any sudden decrease in lake levels," said Hill.
Lifting the restrictions allows Austin Water customers to return to the prescribed two watering days per week, although watering hours will be less than in regular Stage 1 conditions.
Returning to a two-day-per-week watering schedule will provide relief for customers concerned about trees, as well as other landscape investments, as we head into the hottest part of the summer.
The new watering schedule will limit hours to before 5 a.m. and after 7 p.m. on designated days. For residential customers watering days are Wednesdays and Saturdays for odd-numbered addresses and Thursdays and Sundays for even-numbered addresses.
For commercial and multifamily customers watering days are Tuesdays and Fridays.
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