Austin Water

Environment
2:09 pm
Thu August 30, 2012

Stage 2 Watering Restrictions Take Effect Next Week

While returning to Stage 2 restrictions, the city is easing some rules on hand watering and sprinkler use.
Austin Water Utility

The City of Austin is implementing Stage 2 water restrictions starting Tuesday because of declining lake levels, but the rules will be slightly different than before.

“The combined lake levels between Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis has been the trigger,” Austin Water Utility spokesperson Jason Hill said. “It looks as if those two lakes combined will hit that 900,000 acre-foot trigger or go below it in the next week or so.”

The Lower Colorado River Authority says the lakes are currently 45 percent full and contain about 905,499 acre-feet of water. One acre-foot is enough water to cover an acre one-foot-deep in water. It amounts to 325,851 gallons, or enough to supply two to three households for a year.

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Environment
12:52 pm
Mon August 27, 2012

Austin Water Offers Landscaping Rebates

Austin Water says some types of grass and plants require more moisture than is typical in Texas.
KUT News

City of Austin Water Utility customers could get up to $1250 in rebates for changing their landscaping.

The water utility wants customers to replace thirsty turfgrass with native plant beds and permeable hardscapes that demand less water. Austin Water says some Central Texans have gardens and yards with plants that are not the best for the area.

“Some of the St. Augustine and other types of plants look pretty but they may not be successful in the kind of heat and especially the kind of drought that we’ve been experiencing. So we work with customers to help them choose better plants, better landscapes that are water wise," Austin Water Utility spokesperson Jill Mayfield says.

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Environment
4:12 pm
Wed July 18, 2012

What's That Smell? Algae Bloom Causing 'Musty' Smelling Water

High levels of blue green algae in Lake Austin may result in "earthy" smelling water.
flickr.com/hayesandjenn

A blue green algae bloom in Lake Austin may lead to “musty” or “earthy” smelling and tasting water for some Austinites says Austin Water, the utility responsible for city water treatment and distribution.

Jason Hill, a spokesman for Austin Water, said there is no way to know what parts of the city might receive the water, but that the strange smell does not effect its safety.

Austin Water discovered high levels of the algae in routine samples of the city's raw water. Hill said the company is adding powdered carbon to its treatment process to try and counteract the algae’s scent and flavor.

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AM Update 6/27/12
8:05 am
Wed June 27, 2012

AM Update: DPS Completes 'Roadcheck 2012,' Sewage Spill in SE Travis Co., Colorado Wildfires

DPS troopers recently completed a three day effort to crackdown on unsafe commercial vehicles.
KUT News

Texas Department of Public Safety Completes ‘Roadcheck 2012’

Earlier this month, DPS troopers and civilian inspectors joined forces to make the roads safer in Texas. Inspecting more than 8,000 commercial vehicles, over a three-day period, the department issued thousands of citations and removed 1,763 vehicles and 243 drivers from the roads, according to a statement issued yesterday.

The program checks 18-wheelers, buses, and other commercial vehicles for things like unsafe brakes and tires. Drivers’ logs, driving time limits and licenses are also inspected.

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AM Update
8:04 am
Wed May 9, 2012

AM Update: Border Patrol Overhaul, Radioactive Texas Dump Questioned, Austin Budget Talks Continue

A Texas judge has called for a hearing over a radioactive waste site in West Texas.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/kmart

New Border Patrol Strategy Focuses on Intelligence

The U.S. Border Patrol unveiled a new plan for tightening America’s borders yesterday.

The 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan includes tactics and technologies developed over the past few years like unmanned aircraft systems – aka, drones – but also more focus on preventing risk.

The past few years have been a period of unprecedented growth in resources for the Border Patrol. Right now, there are more law enforcement officers on the border – more than 21,000 – than at any time in Border Patrol history.

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AM Update
8:46 am
Tue April 10, 2012

AM Update: MoPac Improvement Money, Pflugerville Utility Rates, Tornado Damage in Dallas

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority hopes to gain funding for the MoPac Improvement Project.
Photo by flickr.com/alphachimpstudio

MoPac Improvement Plan Makes Move for New Funding

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has offered a preliminary proposal to acquire $135 million for the MoPac Improvement Plan.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) notified Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board (CAMPO) of an unexpected funding windfall of $135 million. During a CAMPO work session last night, CTRMA requested that they receive the new funding to begin the improvements to MoPac.

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Environment
12:50 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Austin Water Announces $125 Million Repair Program

Get ready to see a lot more of this: Austin Water announced a five-year pipe repair program today.
Photo by Carlos Morales for KUT News

Austin Water launched “Renewing Austin” today, a five-year program to replace 75 miles of old cast-iron waterlines. 

The announcement was made this morning at a construction site downtown, where old pipes were already being replaced.

“We’re going to try to replace about 15 miles of those projects every year for at least the next five years,” said Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros. “And hopefully much beyond that, and so we’re going to be investing ... millions dollars over the next five years to replace those projects that are high priority for us.”

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water
2:48 pm
Mon November 14, 2011

City Begins Wastewater Averaging

Photo by Aaron Harmon http://www.flickr.com/photos/aaronharmon/

The City of Austin is starting to average the amount of wastewater you use. That averaging, which will continue until mid-March, determines how much you will pay.  

But unlike last year, when the highest amount used during the period was tossed out of the averaging, the city will base this year’s average on all three months. 

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Environment
2:06 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Austin Congressman McCaul a Top Water User Despite Drought

The entrance to Michael McCaul's community, photographed in early November 2011.
Photo by Muliadi Soenaryo for the Texas Tribune

In Texas House and Senate hearings this week, state lawmakers heard repeatedly about the crisis created by the record-breaking drought — and the need for Texans to conserve water.

One elected official who has lagged on this front is U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin.

From October 2010 through September 2011 — a time period that corresponds almost exactly to the first 12 months of the drought — a property belonging to McCaul and his wife was the sixth-largest water user among all Austin residential customers, according to records obtained from Austin's water utility. The McCauls' water consumption, 1.4 million gallons over those 12 months, comes to about 15 times the consumption of the average Austin home over that time.

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Austin
12:48 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Water Main Leak Could Affect North Austin Residents

Fixing the water main will take about three weeks. Meanwhile, a small detour route has been set up near the repair site on MLK.
Photo by KUT News

Reduced water pressure in North Austin is a concern for Austin Water Utility as they begin repairing a leak in a 6-foot water main on Martin Luther King Dr. They reassured us today that so far, the pressure drops are virtually unnoticeable.

"We had to shut that main off and reroute water through some different transmission mains, so there could be some reduction in pressure on weekends," Austin Water Utility spokesperson Jill Mayfield said. "But last weekend there was no noticeable drop when we shut it off. We expect this will be the case throughout the repair."

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Environment
4:59 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

The Top 25 Water Users in Austin

 

A few years back, Lance Armstrong was caught. He apologized, admitted the error of his ways, and promised to do better in the future. His offense? Using too much water.

Armstrong had used 330,000 gallons of water in July 2008. He hadn’t even been home at his three acre, 14,475 square foot estate. “I’m a little shocked,” he told a newspaper at the time. “There’s no justification for that much water. I need to fix this.”

Well, it’s been several summers since then, this last one being notable for being the hottest and driest on record. And the city is in stage two watering restrictions because of the historic drought.  But it would appear Armstrong has not learned how to conserve. According to data from Austin Water Utility, he used around 1.3 million gallons of water in the last year, putting him among the top ten residential users of water in town.

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Environment
2:06 pm
Mon September 19, 2011

Austin Water Use Drops 12 Percent, Round Rock Down 8 Percent

Shoal "Creek" at Lamar and 15th Streets
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Almost two weeks after Austin implemented Stage II water restrictions, water usage has dropped across the city. Since the new rules took effect on September 6, Austin has been using about 179 million gallons of water a day. Before Stage II restrictions, our water usage was averaging closer to 203 million gallons a day. That’s a decrease of about 12 percent.

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Water Quality
3:50 pm
Fri July 15, 2011

Watching for Algae Blooms

Despite drought conditions, Lake Austin's algae levels are within a healthy range while area streams show signs of low oxygen and excessive algae growth.
Photo courtesy jdearingdavis on flickr athttp://www.flickr.com/photos/hayesandjenn/4553357532/in/photostream/

Officials in Oklahoma have closed some of the state's lakes because of blue-green algae outbreaks. The fast growth of already-present algae, paired with high temperatures and still water, pose serious risk to swimmers.

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Austin
1:07 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Water lines prone to breakage under drought

Austin Water Utilities is expecting more pipe breaks from the summer heat.
Photo by Kristen Cabrera for KUT News

Refael Eizraelov spotted water spilling into the street on Adirondack Lane in North Austin this morning. He called the city's 3-1-1 to report it.  They informed him that Austin Water Utility had known about the leak yesterday.

"We don’t have a lot of water in Austin, at the Edwards Aquifer. Everyone knows it’s very low and very precious, and we cannot let water like that just spilling down the drain,” he said.

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Environment
2:20 pm
Fri June 24, 2011

Dillo Dirt Production Capacity Doubles

It might include stuff that came from your toilet, but Dillo Dirt is relatively safe and provides soil with vital nutrients.
Photo by hummyhummy http://www.flickr.com/photos/hummyhummy/

If you like Dillo Dirt, that repurposed sewer sludge used to condition soil, have we got news for you. The Austin Water utility says it will soon be able to create twice as much Dillo Dirt as before.

Austin Water says it completed a new 15-acre compost pad six months ahead of schedule and $6 million under budget. That will allow it to ramp up Dillo Dirt production from 40,000 to 80,000 cubic feet per year.

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