Last week was rough for Central Texas.
Flooding took a major toll on the hill country and water from the Highland Lakes was moved through the Austin area by way of opened floodgates. The State of Texas issued a Disaster Declaration for counties in the area and Travis County declared a local state of disaster.
This week, because of the severely compromised turbidity, or clarity, of the Colorado River -- Austin's sole source of drinking water -- a boil water notice was issued for Austin Water customers.
And on Thursday, Mayor Adler signed a Disaster Declaration for Austin, Texas. "The declaration is really just an administrative act that enables the City to have greater reimbursement, a different avenue of reimbursement available and it enables us to better do procurement quickly," said Mayor Adler.
Throughout the crisis both Austin Water officials and Adler have remained optimistic about the outcome of this thing. "Conservation level is great, the water consumption use is down and because of that, the water quality is getting better. Because of the conversation we're able to fill back up the reservoirs," Adler said.
Austin Water says they're targeting Sunday for an end to the boil water notice.
They're urging people to keep conserving water in the meantime.
We also spoke with Council Member Ellen Troxclair Thursday morning. She's been keeping her constituents informed on the boil water notice with daily Facebook videos. She also has many questions about how Austin ended up here. Like why Austin only has one source of water...
"One of the unanswered questions that I have and I don't know that I'll get the answer is...if we had asked people to conserve water Thursday or Friday of last week would we have ever had to issue the boil water notice?" Troxclair said.
Next Thursday will be the first council meeting since Austin's "water crisis." I asked Troxclair if she's planning to address it somehow.
"For the council meeting next week I am working on a resolution to make sure that our city staff is finding out what we could have done to prevent this and what we need to do going forward and how we can improve our communication strategies so we can have access to up to date information especially when it comes to health and safety," Troxclair said.
For the Mayor: same question."I would expect that the Manager will be doing kind of a review with the departments on what happened here, whether we could have or should have predicted it, whether there are steps that we didn't take that we could have, to recognize the things that we did that worked really well in terms of response," Adler said.
So if the boil water notice does end on Sunday, the work for Austin Water customers is not completely over. You can stop boiling at that point but according to Austin Water you'll have to flush your water system by running cold water faucets for at least a minute, and cleaning ice makers by making and throwing away 3 batches of ice.