Providing more than just tap water. Austin Water provides safe, reliable highquality drinking water to nearly 900,000 current customers and works to ensure reliable water services to our future customers. Here are some of the steps water takes from the Colorado River to your home or business.
Water source Austin Water customers receive their drinking water from two water treatment plants that pump surface water from the Colorado River as it flows into Lake Austin. The City of Austin treats and filters the water according to federal and state standards to remove any possible harmful contaminants.
Treatment and distribution: After water is pumped from the river into the plants, it goes through several treatment steps including: screening, disinfection, softening, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, and filtration. The process takes about 6 to 10 hours to complete. The clean, treated water is then sent to homes and businesses through more than 3,000 miles of underground water lines.
Water Treatment Plant 4 (WTP4) The City is constructing a new water treatment facility in northwest Austin that will draw water from Lake Travis, providing reliable treated water to an expanding service area. WTP4 will add capacity and reliability, ensuring that Austinites enjoy safe and dependable water service for future generations.
The reclaimed water program Reclaimed water is highly treated wastewater that may be reused in activities that don’t require fully treated drinking water (such as irrigation, cooling towers, ornamental ponds, manufacturing and toilet flushing). The reclaimed water program conserves approximately 1.2 billion gallons of water in an average year, a fraction of its potential. In the fiscal year 2010-11, Austin Water completed the University of Texas Main (23,000’) and the Austin Bergstrom International Airport Main (6,000’).
Wildlands: Austin Waterâ€™s Wildland Conservation Division was created in 2002 by the Austin City Council. Almost 40,000 acres of wildlands absorb rainfall, helping to alleviate flooding and prolong the inflow of water to area creeks and lakesâ€”ultimately contributing to the Colorado River. Management of the wildlands contributes to good water quality in our creeks, streams and underlying aquifers as well as providing valuable habitat for wildlife and plants.
Beyond the tap... Austin water delivers more than water and wastewater services. protect water quality promote water conservation support ecology and sustainability studies compost yard trimmings into Dillo DirtTM provide outreach and educational programs actively participate in professional associations
Water Conservation Programs: Austin Water has led the way in water conservation programs, offering rebates to residents opting for more water efficient toilets, washing machines and landscapes. Conservation staff perform irrigation system evaluations to help homeowners and businesses reduce their water usage. The Conservation Division also offers rainbarrel rebates and free low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators to residents upon request.
Water Conservation Speakers Bureau The Water Conservation Speakers Bureau consists of conservation staff members who speak on topics such as water conservation, irrigation, leak detection and water waste. They are available seven days a week for day and evening presentations to speak to a variety of audiences.
Center for Environmental Research (CER): Austin Water’s Center for Environmental Research at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant is a partnership formed in 1989 with the University of Texas and Texas A&M University to support urban ecology and sustainability studies for Austin. The CER offers free lectures to the public and conducts numerous research studies.
Dillo DirtTM and Hornsby Bend: The Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant plays a key role in protecting Austin’s environment by recycling Austin’s biosolids and yard trimmings. Hornsby Bend receives the sewage solids reclaimed from the millions of gallons of wastewater that Austin’s wastewater plants treat every day. All of Austin’s sewage solids are pumped to Hornsby Bend where they are treated to kill pathogens and the resulting biosolids are recycled. “Dillo DirtTM” is made from these recycled materials to create a quality soil amendment. The site is also nationally known as one of the best birding sites in Texas – harboring more than 370 species of birds and an abundance of other wildlife which is monitored through the CER’s citizen science programs and university researchers.
Outreach and Education: Austin Water staff routinely attends community events, neighborhood meetings and community fairs to share information on water conservation and Austin Water programs. Additionally, the Dowser Dan School Assembly Program shares an increasingly important message of water conservation with Austin elementary school children. To date, more than half a million students have learned valuable lessons about water from The Dowser Dan Show.
Leak Response and Repair: Austin Water conserves water by maintaining the integrity of our water distribution system. In just the past two years, the Utility has used fiber optic cameras to inspect more than 1,100 miles of water lines for leaks. At the current rate, we will have completed a system-wide inspection within five years. Austin Water has also initiated an accelerated leak response and repair program that has proven highly successful. Since 2006, Austin Water has reduced repair response time by more than 100% with most leak repairs being completed on the same day as reported.
Proudly Serving Austin since 1912
For more information please visit our web site, www.austintexas.gov/water