AUSTIN (KXAN) — Recovery from last week’s brutal winter storms is ongoing.
City of Austin Manager Spencer Cronk said “the recovery process will be long” during a Monday news conference to provide an update on relief efforts.
While power has mostly been restored, the city’s water utility, Austin Water, is working hard to fully lift the boil water notice that was issued for the entire city back on Wednesday. As of Monday afternoon, five of the 10 regions are cleared from the notice.
Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros says a certified lab is collecting samples of the water before each region is cleared from the boil water notice. Meszaros hopes the remaining zones still under a notice, Southwest A, B and C and Northwest B and C, will be lifted at some point on Tuesday. Testing the sampled water takes around 24 hours to complete.
Bottled water distribution has also been a high priority for city administration. On Monday afternoon, the City of Austin said it got more than 118,000 cases of water for the community. So far, critical facilities and shelters have received more than 22,000 cases, and vulnerable populations have gotten about 29,000 cases, the city said. Residents have received about 39,000 cases through large distribution sites.
Meszaros says there are some pockets of customers without water Monday afternoon due to water main breaks or other isolated incidents. Apartment complexes may be without water due to issues within the private water system of the complex.
Over 20 Austin Water crews are working 24 hours a day to repair water main breaks. Meszaros says they are repairing around 40 to 50 breaks every day. There were over 100 main line breaks throughout the city after the week of storms.
Meszaros believes the sheer amount of water main breaks last week ultimately resulted in the storage system nearly running out of water. Additionally, Austin Water says there were thousands of private water line breaks with “substantial” damage to the private system.
Austin Water says it will meet with the city manager and council to consider bill relief strategies.
Three non-profits, the Austin Disaster Relief Network, Central Texas Voluntary
Organizations Active in Disasters, and Crisis Clean Up are teaming up to help out Bastrop, Hays, Travis, and Williamson Counties.
Volunteer teams are currently helping people clean out their homes and remove debris.
Residents can call (800) 329-8052 to request assistance.
The “Crisis Clean Up” line will operate Mondays-Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Homeowners can register for assistance through the “Crisis Clean Up” number until Tuesday, March 2.
Austin Public Health restarted COVID-19 operations Sunday after the winter storms canceled vaccine and testing appointments, while also limiting data entry for the area.
City of Austin Food Policy Manager Edwin Marty says 30,000 emergency meals were distributed in the last 24 hours around Austin. The Millennium Entertainment Center at 1156 Hargrave Street will continue distribution Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Marty says most of the meals are ready-to-eat without additional heating. If you can’t make it to the distribution location, call 211 for assistance.