City of Austin taking steps to protect water quality

You drink it, you swim in it, water is the key to life.

“Austin has a history of protecting its water quality and making that water quality good for future generations,” said Spencer Cronk, Austin City Manager.

With troubling floods that continue to plague the region, city officials are tasked with protecting the quality of our water each and every day. “Using the 2018 bond money that overwhelmingly passed by voters, we were able to purchase land near here so we can ensure we were able to protect that water quality in the future,” said Cronk.

The city has already bought about 28,000 acres of land over the Barton Springs Recharge Zone to make sure nobody develops there. “Once you get development, and folks put chemicals on their lawns, the roads can cause pollution,” said Daryl Slusher, assistant director at Austin Water.

The site city officials showed FOX 7 is the Onion Creek Management Unit, which is the key to water supply in the area. Thirty-three percent of the water coming to Barton Springs comes from Onion Creek which is the furthest away.

Officials say also, if a pollutant enters the onion creek watershed, it would only take about three days to make it downstream into your water, emphasizing the importance of keeping this area clean and human development free. “It's an ecosystem. It's all connected and the more we can ensure we are protecting upstream, the better off we will be in Austin itself. We know that Austin is experiencing dramatic floods and droughts so we have to think about how to make sure that we can make the investments whether it's in our infrastructure or in protecting land,” said Cronk.