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With Water Plan Approved, Council Turns to Wells

Council may require city registration of wells

By Amy Smith, Fri., Aug. 24, 2012

Dry islands like this one are familiar sights at Lake Travis.
Dry "islands" like this one are familiar sights at Lake Travis.
Photo courtesy of The LCRA

City Council last week signed off on a new water management plan and revisions to the city's water code. The 6-0 vote (with Council Member Bill Spelman absent) followed a two-week delay to allow time for Austin Water Utility officials to consider some concerns expressed by several members of the environmental community. Those included the utility's established drought-management "triggers" based on water supply levels in Lakes Travis and Buchanan. Environmental activists had advocated – unsuccessfully, it turned out – raising the lake-level triggers for Stages 2 and 3 drought restrictions. The Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter's Jennifer Walker asked that water officials include meteorological conditions in the evaluation of the three drought stages when they draft a new management plan in 2014.

Taking water management a step further, the council this week (Thursday, Aug. 23) considers a resolution (Item 67) calling for a new ordinance requiring the registration of water wells drilled on property served by Austin Water. The resolution, sponsored by Council Members Kathie Tovo and Laura Morrison, is in response to the increase of well-drilling by homeowners who want to keep their lawns lush without paying higher water bills or drawing fines for violating outdoor water restrictions.

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