| Austin American-Statesman
Austin water outage: Director updates city on service restoration
Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros gives an update on water outages on Feb. 18, 2021. A citywide boil water notice was issued on Feb. 17,
City of Austin via Facebook
With tens of thousands of Austin-area homes still without water, city and county leaders enacted restrictions Saturday night designed to discourage wasteful water use.
Travis County Judge Andy Brown said he was prohibiting car washing services until Feb. 25. Brown’s statement did not specify a penalty or cite a legal basis for the county order, but city residents have been under a boil-water notice that carries a potential $250 fine.
“We’re working across the county to ensure water is restored to all of our residents,” Brown said in a statement. “That is why we’re asking businesses to put their car washing services on hold until we can get this critical water supply to our entire community.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler called it “outrageous” for anyone to be washing a car while the city desperately seeks to restore water service. He cited the boil-water notice enacted Wednesday amid widespread water loss following the winter storm that froze pipes and caused power blackouts.
“If you see it, call 311 to report,” Adler said in a statement. “I appreciate County Judge Brown putting his weight behind a prohibition, too.”
Austin Water, the city’s water utility, on Saturday echoed the call for conversation and community compliance, saying that it “has learned of unneighborly water use in our community.”
Citing city charter provisions allowing for emergency restrictions, Austin Water director Greg Meszaros on Saturday ordered that Austin Water customers may not:
· Use water for irrigation or testing of irrigation equipment.
· Wash vehicles, including at commercial car wash facilities.
· Wash pavement or other surfaces.
· Add water to a pool or spa.
· Conduct foundation watering.
· Operate an ornamental fountain or pond, other than aeration necessary to support aquatic life .
Under the city’s boil-water notice, residents are asked to boil water that is used for drinking, cooking or ice for two minutes.
The city says that it needs at least 100 million gallons in storage in its reservoirs to maintain a healthy water city system. On Saturday, its storage level stood at 60 million gallons.