Drought Contingency Plan
Drought Contingency Plan
Central Texas is currently experiencing severe to extreme drought conditions. Record high temperatures and low rainfall over the summer have taken a toll on the Lower Colorado River Basin and Lakes Travis and Buchanan, the source of our water supply. To respond to this drought, Austin Water is following its Council-approved Drought Contingency Plan that was developed with community input in 2016.
We must update our Drought Contingency Plan next year and projections show that Central Texas can expect more frequent extreme droughts in the future. We want to hear from you about additional ways we could conserve water during times of extreme drought that could be included in the 2024 Drought Contingency Plan
Updating the Drought Contingency Plan:
Austin Water is currently working to update our Drought Contingency Plan, which is due to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) by May 1, 2024.
While the TCEQ determines the required parts of the plan, local utilities specify what the drought stages are and the actions taken in each stage to reduce water use. These decisions are based on unique aspects of each region and community, such as the source of the drinking water, water demand, and the utility’s system capacity.
Under the current plan, the City of Austin moved to Stage 2 restrictions on August 15, when the water storage levels of the Highland Lakes, the source of our drinking water, dropped to 900,000 acre-feet of water (45% of total). Stage 3 restrictions will be triggered if water storage levels drop to 600,000 acre-feet (30% of total). Stage 4 restrictions occur under even more severe drought restrictions or in the event of an emergency.
 One acre-foot of is the volume of water that is an acre in area, one foot deep, or 325,851 gallons.
Public input on proposed changes collected
Host virtual public input meeting:
Austin Water is currently working to update our Drought Contingency Plan for submission to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality by May 1, 2024. During this virtual meeting with Austin Water Conservation Division staff, we will discuss the current Drought Contingency Plan, as well as potential adjustments and additions to the drought stages and restrictions. Staff will also answer any questions you might have about the plan.
Register here: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zjdFwLZfSjer-KjDjCoVTg
Draft Drought Contingency Plan submitted for legal review
February and March 2024
Draft Drought Contingency Plan presented to Boards and Commissions for feedback
Draft Drought Contingency Plan presented to Austin City Council for approval
Updated Drought Contingency Plan submitted to TCEQ for approval
Drought Contingency Plan goes into effect