AUSTIN (KXAN) — Starting Monday, Austin water customers are under new, increased water restrictions.
These restrictions, the first since 2018, limit automatic irrigation watering from midnight through 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. through midnight. Once-per-week watering for residential and commercial customers will continue.
The changes are triggered by low water levels in Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan. The Lower Colorado River Authority manages these lakes that provide water to several Central Texas cities and municipalities.
A LCRA spokesperson said the wholesale water provider is near its Stage 1 drought contingency trigger. Stage 1 requests firm water customers reduce water use by at least 5% when Lakes Travis and Buchanan drop below 1.4 million acre-feet, and interruptible water from the Highland Lakes is cut off.
The combined storage level is currently at 1.376 million acre-feet; however, the access to the Highland Lakes is not cut off. LCRA expects Stage 1 reductions could happen if current conditions continue.
Here’s how neighboring cities are limiting their water use. Note that not all of these cities receive water from the LCRA.
While there are year-round water restrictions, the city of Buda has not reached a trigger for increased watering restrictions. These regular restrictions include hose-end and automatic irrigation limits from 7 p.m. to 10 a.m. Customers are limited to watering two designated days per week.
The city receives water from Canyon Lake and the Edwards Aquifer.
“The City will continue to monitor both aquifer conditions and surface water availability and make adjustments when triggers have been reached,” said Blake Neffendorf, public works assistant director, in a statement.
Triggers for drought response stages are outlined in city ordinances, and the city manager can implement water restrictions based on the drought response plan.
The city of Cedar Park, which gets its water from Lake Travis, began its Stage 2 water restrictions in 2015. This includes twice-per-week irrigation and hose-end sprinkler watering between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m.
A spokesperson said the city would enter its Stage 3 restrictions if the combined stage of Lakes Travis and Buchanan reaches 750,000 acre-feet. City council directs the decision to change water conservation stages, but this is based on staff triggers for water conservation measures outlined in an LCRA plan.
More water restrictions and conservation information can be found on the city website.
The city has been in its Stage 2 water restrictions since June 2015. This includes twice-weekly watering for all customers. Watering days vary by odd and even residential addresses.
The city receives raw water from Lake LBJ, which is managed by LCRA.
An increase or decrease in water restrictions can be ordered by the city council. Each stage’s triggers are outlined in city ordinances. Stage 2’s goal is to reduce water demand by 10% to 25%.
The city of Kyle entered its Stage 2 water restrictions in October 2020. These include designated watering days based on odd/even residential addresses. Automatic irrigation is limited from midnight to 10 a.m., and watering by hose, sprinkler, drip irrigation or soaker hose is limited to midnight to 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.
The city’s treatment and operations division of the public works department provides suggested water restriction levels to the city manager for authorization.
Kyle gets its water from the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, Edwards Aquifer Authority and Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.
The city’s full drought contingency plan is available online.
The city of Leander entered its Phase 2 water restrictions in May 2021. This includes once-per-week residential and commercial watering before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
Leander could move to Phase 3 restrictions if total water demand exceeds 95% of the total treatment capacity for three consecutive days; total water demand exceeds firm capacity of key pump stations for three consecutive days; the LCRA general manager or board declares an emergency; and/or the city manager or city manager designee determines Phase 3 measures are necessary for public health, safety and welfare. But the city manager ultimately makes the decision to change phases, a spokesperson said.
A city spokesperson said the city does not anticipate increasing its water restrictions at this time, and “The City is currently focused on increasing conservation awareness among residential and commercial customers.”
More city water restrictions and conservation information is available online.
The city of Marble Falls, which receives water from the LCRA, began its Stage 2 “moderate” water restrictions June 1. This stage allows residential and commercial watering two days per week. Watering is allowed from midnight to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight. on designated days each week.
Stage 3 restrictions would be triggered by a 600,000 acre-feet combined storage level of Lakes Travis and Buchanan; total water demand equals or exceeds 95% of plant capacity for two consecutive days or 96% for one day; or other factors, according to the city ordinance.
The city of Pflugerville annually moves into Stage 2 restrictions from March 1 to Oct. 31. This includes twice-per-week watering for residential and commercial users.
The city looks at lake levels for all the Highland Lakes and Lake Pflugerville reservoir when determining conservation phases, according to the city. Pflugerville could enter Stage 3 restrictions when the average daily water consumption reaches 90% of distribution capacity for three consecutive days; or the combined
storage of the Highland Lakes falls to 700,000 acre-feet or the city manager determines that stage 3 is necessary.
“At this time, we are staying in Stage 2 Water Restrictions, and do continue to encourage additional conservation by our residents, but Lake Pflugerville is currently at a healthy level, and we are actively monitoring its sources,” a city spokesperson said.
More information on the city’s drought contingency plan is available online.
The city of San Marcos entered its Stage 2 restrictions April 17. This includes one day-per-week irrigation on designated days with hose-end sprinklers from midnight to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight. Automatic sprinklers are limited to one designated day per week from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. More restrictions are listed on the city website.
The city gets its water from the Edwards Aquifer and Canyon Lake.
The decision to increase the drought restriction stage is based on city ordinance. This is based on the 10-day average aquifer level, the discharge rate of San Marcos Springs or the discharge rate of Comal Springs.
KXAN reached out to several other Central Texas cities to confirm their current water restrictions. This article will be updated as information is received.