Austin Water announced today it will activate Drought Response Stage 2 Water Use Restrictions beginning Tuesday, September 4. This decision is prompted by projected combined storage levels of Lakes Travis and Buchanan dropping below 900,000 acre-feet within the next week.
Stage 1 restrictions have been in effect for the past six weeks. The brief return to a two-day per week watering schedule provided relief for customers concerned about trees and other landscaping investments through the hottest part of the summer. The time was also used by the city to update its water management strategy. The improved strategy allows for a more efficient overall response to water use during our area's current drought conditions.
On August 16, the Austin City Council approved changes to the Water Conservation code that creates four drought stages that ramp up water use restrictions during times of drought to maximize water conservation. Watering days for residential customers under Stage 2 have changed to allow separate watering days for hose-end sprinklers and automatic irrigation systems. This change gives hose-end sprinkler customers a more reasonable timeframe for watering. The new Stage 2 schedule also spreads out water use to avoid peak demands on Austin Water's treatment and distribution system. Under the updated Water Conservation code, the following exemptions will be allowed any time of the day:
• Soaker hoses on vegetable gardens
• Automatic bubblers on trees or soaker hoses placed within the canopy drip line
• Hand watering with a hose or watering can.