water

The Lead
8:53 am
Tue March 19, 2013

The Lead: Norwood Trial Update, Tx Construction Jobs Tops in U.S.

Mark Norwood exits the Tom Green County Courthouse after jury selection for his trial, Mar 18, 2013.
Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning! Austin’s in for another warm day, although not as hot as yesterday’s record highs: we can expect a high near 80 degrees and increasing cloud cover as the day continues, according to the National Weather Service.

Lead Story: Jury selection began yesterday in the trial of a man accused of killing Michael Morton’s wife in 1986.Morton was the Austin man who spent almost 25 years prison for his wife’s murder, before he was exonerated by DNA evidence in 2011. 

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The Lead
8:59 am
Fri March 15, 2013

The Lead: House to Vote on Water Plan, Protecting Capitol Views

A Texas water plan will come to the House for a vote.
flickr.com/bcfoto

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for a warm and breezy day, with highs in the lower 80s.

Lead Story: As more people move to Texas, the state is facing a growing need for water. At the state Capitol yesterday, a plan to establish a long-term fund for water projects took a significant step forward.

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Politics
8:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Should Texas Use 'Rainy Day' Fund for Water Projects?

Ongoing drought has Texas lawmakers paying attention to the state's water needs.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Should Texas take money from the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund for water projects? It’s an idea that will get a closer look today.

Lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee are holding a public hearing this morning on the proposal. The bill would set aside $2 billion from the economic stabilization or "Rainy Day" fund for water projects.

The bill’s author – Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) – says prolonged statewide drought has revealed the importance of developing a dedicated source of revenue for the state’s water plan.

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Environment
5:33 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

This Bill Aims to Quiet Down Texas' Water Wars

The Red River is one interstate point of contention over water rights.
courtesy flickr.com/texasbackroads

As Texas begins a third year of drought, conflicts with neighboring states over water are progressing as well. Now, as Terrence Henry reports for StateImpact Texas, one state lawmaker is hoping to bring some calm to Texas’ water wars.

There’s an abundance of water that’s available that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, and no one’s capturing the economic benefit from it.

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Politics
5:37 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Perry Spends Billions in State of the State

Gov. Rick Perry
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Story as heard on KUT 90.5

Texas Governor Rick Perry delivered his seventh state of the state address to the Texas Legislature Tuesday.

Looking back at Governor Perry’s past speeches, the state of our state has varied from strong, to vibrant, to good, back to strong…and now, "...It is my pleasure to report that the state of our state is stronger than ever," Perry said.

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Politics
5:10 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Water Plan Will Get Funded, but How Much Is Unclear

Ninety percent of Texas is in a drought as of this week.
U.S. Drought Monitor

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says there’s no choice about funding the state’s water plan, but he’s less specific on how much to spend. Yesterday State Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Abilene, supported a proposal to spend $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund.

Today, Dewhurst told KUT News’ political reporting partner the Texas Tribune that he doesn’t know how much to invest.

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Texas
4:52 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

LCRA Plan May Cut Off Rice Farmers to Preserve Austin's Water (Update)

A rice farm in Columbus, Texas. LCRA action may result in more water for Austin and less for rice farmers.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The LCRA approved a drought plan this afternoon that may mean rice farmers downstream of Austin will go without water again in 2013.

StateImpact Texas writes:

The Highland Lakes of Buchanan and Travis, vital reservoirs for Central Texas, have suffered from record low inflows in recent years, beginning in 2006. They’re currently only 41 percent full. If they don’t rise to the level of 42 percent full by midnight March 1, water will not go downstream to most rice farmers this year.

Read more at StateImpact Texas.

Original post (11:33 a.m.): With persistent drought conditions affecting Central Texas and the entire state, the Lower Colorado River Authority could make a decision today that could mean water from the Highland Lakes will be cut off to rice farmers downstream.

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Health
8:59 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Pflugerville Lifts Boil Water Notice (Update)

Some Pflugerville residents should boil tap water or drink bottled until further notice.
flickr.com/ag2r

Update: The City of Pflugerville says “The boil water notice is now lifted. Chlorine levels are now at required levels and water is safe to drink.” You can read more here.

Original post (Nov. 20, 7:02 a.m.): The City of Pflugerville is telling people in several subdivisions to boil their water until further notice. The city says a routine check of  the water revealed the chlorine level is too low.

People who live in Pflugerville Heights, Spring Trails, Springbrook and Enclave should boil tap water for at least two minutes before drinking, cooking and making ice.

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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
2:41 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

During Drought, Austin Cleans Streets With Drinkable Water

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

When it is still dark outside you can hear the city’s sweeping and flushing trucks cleaning the downtown streets from gum, trash or even urine that lingers on the streets from the night before. Often you can hear water flushing on the streets and you wonder: Isn’t there a water restriction?

Recent rains might make you think otherwise, but the city of Austin is still in "moderate drought." That's why we are currently under Stage I watering restrictions. But When it comes to cleaning the streets of downtown Austin, the rules do not apply to the city itself, says Jill Mayfield, spokesperson from the Austin Water Utility Department.

“There is an exemption for water that’s used to protect health, safety or welfare for the public," Mayfield explained. "One example is street cleaning. We have so much pedestrian traffic and vehicle traffic, that it is important to keep our streets clean and healthy."

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AM Update: 8/16/12
8:38 am
Thu August 16, 2012

AM Update: LCRA Wants More Water, Parks Burn Ban, Another Hasan Trial Delay?

Securing More Water for Central Texas

The Lower Colorado River Authority is taking action on three projects that the Board of Directors say will increase its water supply and reduce demand for water from the Highland Lakes.

The LCRA has put money down to hold land near the Colorado River while it explores the option of building two water reservoirs there. The LCRA says water could be diverted to the reservoirs in times of heavy rain or floods and then be made available for customer use.

The LCRA is also putting together a purchase agreement to buy the Alcoa aluminum property northeast of Austin that would give it rights to a groundwater aquifer *as well as surface water.

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Austin
3:00 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

No Facilities at Emma Long Park; Barton Springs Pool Still Closed

View Larger Map

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department has temporarily shut off the water to Emma Long Metropolitan Park to make repairs.

The park is still open for use but all restrooms, showers, drinking fountains and water utilities for camping are all out of order. The city is providing extra portable restrooms.

The repairs are expected to be complete in early August.

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Environment
11:39 am
Thu July 12, 2012

Austin Lifts Stage II Water Restrictions

Austin is easing water restrictions, although not to its previous Stage I levels.
flickr.com/amorton

Starting Monday, Austin residents will be able to water two days a week under Stage I restrictions. Stage II water restrictions had been in effect since last September.

The city says wetter than expected conditions this past winter and spring have increased the storage volumes of Lakes Travis and Buchanan. And those levels will be better maintained this year because water is being cut off to rice farmers downstream under the Lower Colorado River Authority’s Emergency Drought Plan.

Despite the improvement in water storage levels, Central Texas remains under drought conditions. But Austin Water spokesperson Jason Hill says it’s important for customers to be able to take care of landscaping as we head into the hottest part of the summer.

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Environment
12:07 pm
Thu July 5, 2012

Colorado River’s Oxygen Levels Dropping

The volunteers of Austin Youth River Watch regularly test the water in the Colorado.
Austin Youth River Watch

The Colorado River not only supplies much of Central Texas with its drinking water, it’s also a cherished destination for summer recreation seekers. But new data suggests that the health of the river ecosystem might be in jeopardy.

And authorities might not have known about the scope of the problem without the help of some teenage naturalists.

For about 20 years, Austin Youth River Watch has organized groups of teens to monitor the water quality of the Colorado. Every week they check water at different parts of the river and its tributaries. Lately they’ve been getting some unusual readings.

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