We’re In A Drought… So What Exactly Does That Mean For You?

If you spent the holiday weekend swimming at Lake Travis you know that Austin is once again in a drought. 

Lake levels have dropped low enough that the implementation of Stage 1 watering restrictions for Austin were triggered late last month. (Lake Travis is part of the Highland Lakes system, which is the main source of Austin’s drinking water supply.)

“While no single event can be attributed to climate change,” said Assistant Director of Austin Water Daryl Slusher, in a press release, “climate models predict more extremes of drought and flood for our region. That is a pretty good description of what we have experienced over the last decade.”

So what does that actually mean for you?
Recognizing that in-part because of climate change, our city will continue to fall in and out of cycles of drought, Austin Water permanently imposes watering restrictions on us, so this bump up to Stage 1 doesn’t actually come with that many new changes.

The only change between our permanent Conservation Stage and Stage 1 is the reduction of available automatic irrigation watering hours. (Previously, you could use automatic irrigation from midnight from 10am or from 7pm to midnight. Now it’s only midnight to 8am and 7pm to midnight).

Stage 1 Water Restriction

What are these Conservation Stage watering restrictions?
With all of this publicity around the city entering Stage 1 watering restrictions, there’s been a lot of confusion about the water conservation measures we’re all supposed to be following all the time.

These permanent water conservation measures say that:

  • You can only use automatic irrigation watering once-per-week (and only during the specified hours)
  • You can use hose-end irrigation twice-per-week
  • Residential car-wash is permitted with bucket and/or automatic shut-off nozzle.
  • Restaurants are prohibited from providing water unless requested by customers and will limit the use of patio misters to the hours between 4pm and midnight.

Find some of these regulations a bit too restrictive? There’s good news. If you decide to utilize more environmentally-friendly watering methods, you don’t have to follow many of these restrictions. These include:

  • Drip irrigation
  • Hand-held watering with hose
  • Watering trees with automatic bubblers
  • Automatic drip irrigation
  • A soaker hose beneath the tree canopy

Want some more tips about how you can do your part to conserve water in Austin? Check out Austin Water’s website here>>

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