AUSTIN (KXAN) - A final meeting by Austin Water could lead to higher water rates. The water department has asked for an increase in revenue to meet the public's demand.
In the meantime, the Texas drought has been going on for months, in spite of some heavy rains this spring, which was not enough to meet Austin's needs. Now Austin Water is getting ready to ask for a 5.5 percent increase to keep up with the public's demand.
"What we have told our council in our financial forecast is that next year it'll be about a 5.5 percent overall rate increase," said David Anders of the Austin Water Finance Department.
But many folks have already been planning ahead for times like these. The owners of a local water tank and water equipment company said people are looking for ways to collect water, mostly to get around water restrictions and to save on their water bills. Water tank storage and rain harvesting equipment is a hot seller especially now -- going into the summer.
"What rain harvesting does is it gives you an opportunity to collect some water off your roof and use that for irrigation," said Tony Roucloux, president of Tanks For Less.
But there are commercial water users like Eric Kacer, who owns Texas Wholesale Stone, a decorative stone company in northwest Austin. He bought his 205-gallon tank to get around having to install a water system in his small outdoor business. Kacer like his tank and uses it daily.
"Our hands gets dirty, our faces get dirty, it's nice to have rain water to conveniently wash our hands, our faces," he said.
Council will take a final vote in September. If it approves the hike, new rates will take effect two months later.
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