The coolers are coming back in the new year.
A report this morning that the popular water coolers on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail had been removed got pulses racing.
Run Tex and Rogue Running have provided free water to trail enthusiasts for years. But the practice apparently ran afoul of health and safety regulations: about two weeks ago, the water coolers evaporated from the trail.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, parks officials said the coolers would return, albeit with new security measures: they will now be locked and fully permitted.
“These groups that are providing this wonderful resource – they have not gone through the permitting process,” says Parks and Recreation Department director Sara Hensley. “We had to say, lets stop doing what we're doing right now, lets go back and work with Health and Human Services to hand out the packets for permitting: How are you providing the water? What types of equipment are you using to get the water there?How are those jugs or containers being sanitized? And then, are they secure?”
Officials say considering the cooler agreement started with a handshake back in 1990, it’s a good thing the city and the cooler proprietors have come to a more formal agreement. Hensley tells KUT News the city’s actions are not “about the money” gained through the permitting process, and adds "I will take care of that through our department, or partnering with Health and Human Services, to have that taken care of.”
The coolers are expected to return to the trail in January.