City could go into Stage 1 of water restrictions soon, says Austin Water memo

The city of Austin could go into Stage 1 water restrictions soon, according to a city memo from Austin Water.

In the memo to Mayor Steve Adler and the Austin City Council, interim director Robert Goode says that staff anticipate that in the near future, the combined storage of Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis will likely fall below 1.4 million acre-feet. As of Friday, May 20, the combined storage of the two LCRA water supply lakes is 1.43 million acre-feet. 

Austin Water says LCRA forecasts project the combined lakes' storage volume to drop below 1.4 million acre-feet in late May or June, depending on factors including future hydrologic conditions, evaporation, diversions, and releases. This drop would trigger Stage 1 water restrictions of the city's drought response.

The utility says that the primary change for residents with Stage 1 would be the reduction of automatic irrigation watering hours to 13 hours from the current 15. Residents will still be able to use their automatic irrigation systems and hoses based on the current watering schedule.

Irrigation activities for athletic fields, drip irrigation, hoses watering trees with automatic bubblers, automatic drip irrigation or with a soaker hose beneath the tree canopy, and in vegetable gardens will also be allowed to continue without restrictions. Residential car washes, and the washing of any outdoor surface, is allowed with the use of positive shut-off valve or a bucket, says Austin Water.

Commercial customers will still continue to limit the use of patio misters to the hours between 4 p.m. and midnight. Commercial car washes will also be able to operate normally. 

To learn more about Austin Water's water restrictions, click here.