Friday, May 27, 2022

Austin Enters Stage 1 of Drought Contingency Plan New Watering Restrictions to take effect June 6

The combined storage level of water in Lakes Travis and Buchanan is currently at 1.409 million acre-feet this morning and is projected to drop below 1.4 million acre-feet within the next few days. Austin’s Drought Contingency Plan sets a trigger at this storage level at which the City Manager may order the implementation of Stage 1 conservation measures. To give the community notice that these new restrictions are coming and consistent with the City’s Water Conservation Code, City Manager Spencer Cronk has ordered implementation of Stage 1, effective June 6, 2022. This comes after over a 3-year stretch at Conservation Stage, the lowest stage of the Water Conservation Code.

“Our community has embraced water conservation year-round and I’m confident they will step up to this additional restriction” said Interim Water Director Robert Goode. "The only change between Conservation Stage and Stage 1 is the reduction of automatic irrigation watering hours. Watering only in the early morning or late evening hours when temperatures are coolest, will help reduce unnecessary water loss through evaporation and that continues to support Austin’s water conservation efforts.”

Austin Water will undertake additional community outreach and education through social media, radio, television announcements, and responses to frequently asked questions on Austin Water’s website. In addition, Austin Water will continue its investigations of reported non-compliance received via Austin 3-1-1 and water waste patrols.

Stage 1 Watering Restrictions Summary
  • Stage 1 Watering Restrictions reduce the total number of hours available for watering via automatic irrigation systems from 15 hours to 13 hours (Midnight - 8am and 7pm - midnight).
  • All other watering restrictions remain unchanged including:
    • Once-per-week automatic irrigation watering schedule will continue for residential and commercial water customers.
    • Twice-per-week hose-end irrigation watering schedule will continue for residential customers.
    • Residents can continue the following irrigation methods without restrictions:
      • athletic fields
      • drip irrigation
      • hand-held watering with a hose
      • watering trees with automatic bubblers
      • automatic drip irrigation
      • soaker hose beneath the tree canopy and in vegetable gardens
    • Commercial car washes can operate normally. Residential car washes, and the washing of any outdoor surface, is permitted with a bucket and/or automatic shut-off nozzle.
    • Commercial customers will continue to limit the use of patio misters to the hours between 4pm and midnight.


Drought in Central Texas

“While the changes in restrictions for Stage 1 are limited, Austin Water also views the declaration of Stage 1 as an opportunity, and obligation, to inform citizens about the current situation with drought and lake volumes,” said Kevin Critendon, Assistant Director, Environmental, Planning and Development Services. “Although some rain has fallen in Central Texas this year, it doesn’t always make its way into the streams and rivers that replenish the Highland Lakes.”

For complete details about the drought contingency plan, triggers for additional water restrictions and other frequently asked questions, visit