AWE Charter Sponsor Profile

Austin Water

2010-07-01

Austin-logoAustin Water serves a fast growing population of over 850,000 people in a utility service area of over 500 square miles.  Austin Water draws water from the Colorado River into two water treatment plants that have a rated combined maximum capacity of 285 million gallons per day and a storage capacity of 167 million gallons.  Austin Water supplies water to customers within and outside corporate city limits of Austin as well as the communities of Rollingwood, Sunset Valley, Pflugerville, and Round Rock, one water control and improvement district, five water supply corporations, seven municipal utility districts, and three private utilities.

austin-river-treesAustin Water’s conservation program began in 1983 with emergency demand management measures and the program has been steadily expanding since that time.  In 2006, City Council created a Water Conservation Task Force to establish strategies for conserving water.  The goal is to reduce Austin’s water use by 1% per year over the next ten years. Many of the task force recommendations have been implemented.  The water conservation program addresses a comprehensive array of water users (single-family residential, multi-family residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, municipal, and utility) and water uses (indoor, outdoor, and leakage). 

Rebate and Incentive Programs

  • Toilet replacement programs (free high-efficiency toilets)
  • Clothes washer rebates
  • Rainwater harvesting rebates
  • Free irrigation evaluations and rebates needed for repairs
  • Rebates for reducing water in commercial processes
  • Pressure reduction valve rebates
  • Public outreach and education
  • Speaker’s bureau
  • Water Reclamation
  • Water waste investigation

“3C Challenge” -Commit, Calculate, Conserve

austin-mantraIn the summer of 2010, Austin Water is launching the 3C Challenge and will focus on helping the customer make the difference in Austin’s Water usage. Recently, the Austin City Council passed a resolution to set a goal of 140 gallons per day per capita by 2020. The campaign will feature online tools and a  pledge form to encourage every Austinite to work toward the goals of the resolution.

Education and Partnership Initiatives

Water IQ and WaterSense

dowser-danWater Conservation staff also works closely with the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) on conservation.  A partnership was formed to promote the Water IQ program, a joint effort that promotes conservation throughout the region.  Austin Water Utility is also a charter member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense program, a voluntary partnership that helps Americans save water by choosing water saving products and services.

Water Education Programs

Designed for fifth-grade students, the Water in Our World program is a free resource available to teachers in the Austin Water service area.  Down the Drain, a follow-up curriculum for sixth-grade students is also available.

Austin Water’s resident water –saver, Dowser Dan is coming back this year to the delight of elementary schools throughout the service area.  Dowser Dan is a traveling program protecting Austin’s water supply, the Colorado River.

design_templatesAnother partnership is with the City of Austin’s Grow Green program, a comprehensive, earthwise landscaping program to help protect and conserve Austin’s water.  Customers are encouraged to use new landscape design templates to move towards a drought-tolerant landscape.  Templates and a new TV spot can be found at www.growgreen.org.

The City of Austin and Austin Water are committed to strengthening existing conservation programs and expanding programs even further in the future.  All this is part of a mission to provide safe, reliable, and high quality water services to the customer.

For more information about AWE Charter Sponsor Austin Water and their conservation programs, call (512) 974-2199 or visit www.waterwiseaustin.org.