AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Water is making “good progress” to restore water pressure throughout Austin, according to Director Greg Meszaros. He feels confident most homes without water will see that restored in the next 48 hours.
Meszaros said reservoirs are about a third full, with 35 million to 40 million gallons in them so far. They’ve been able to establish service in the critical “central zone” of the city and are working to bring up the water pressure to the north and south. It has a map it keeps updated with outage information.
“Literally every hour, it’s getting better,” Meszaros said.
As service returns, customers could see their systems go from no water to low-pressure water, and may even see cloudy or discolored water before the system returns to normal.
Meszaros encouraged people to actively conserve water, but says it’s OK to use for essentials. He said people should not be trying to catch up on laundry, doing dishes or taking lots of showers. Meszaros also said people should minimize dripping their faucets as the city still needs to continue filling reservoirs.
There are still a lot of unknowns at this point, Meszaros said. There may be more water main or pipe breaks that could require the city to shut off water again to fix them.
What about water bills?
When it comes to billing, City Manager Spencer Cronk has directed Austin Water to come up with solutions to assist people if their pipes have burst.
“Austin Water doesn’t want to reap any financial benefit at all from this ice storm,” Meszaros said. Austin Water is looking at options for relief, getting people help with repairs or billing issues.
Water distribution for those in need
Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk said a million gallons of water it bought, plus more from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is on its way. Austin is working to set up safe water distribution sites and expected to have details this evening. Travis County is also working on water distribution coordination.
Boil water notice latest
Austin customers were also put under a boil water notice this week. Meszaros didn’t have a specific timeline for when that would be lifted, but hoped the testing process required to do so could begin next week. It’s possible the city may be able to clear the system in segments to get critical locations, like hospitals, out of the notice sooner.
“Obviously, it’s much better to have water to boil than not have water at all, so that’s our first goal — to get water service to everybody,” Meszaros said.