Travis County Commissioners are considering water conservation concepts for the design of the future Civil and Family Courts Facility. Two multimillion-dollar options were presented to the court on Aug. 14.

The first proposal—stubbing out the building for irrigation and possible later connection to the purple pipe system, which carries recycled water that can be used for irrigation and industrial use—would cost up to $2.2 million with tie in. The second option—full rainwater collection and a toilet flush system with the purple pipe—would cost up to $3.5 million with tie in.

“I’m very mindful of the total cost of this building, but I’m also very mindful of water conservation,” County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said. “I’m intrigued, and I want to know more. I’d like to see a cost benefit analysis over time.”

The costliest element—estimated between $1.5 to $2 million—is the hookup for the purple pipe, which is located approximately 10 blocks away from the new facility.

Commissioner Brigid Shea said the lack of purple pipe connectivity downtown highlights opportunities to build out the system, possibly in partnership with the city of Austin.

“I would encourage us to certainly seek to design these [water conservation] systems because they constitute an enormous water savings and a long-term cost savings for the maintenance and operation of the building,” she said.

The commissioners also heard a number of presentations related to health, safety and the budget at Tuesday's meeting, which are detailed below.

Central Health budget
The commissioners received a briefing on the proposed fiscal year 2018-19 budget for Central Health —the county’s health care district. The current draft budget, as presented to the commissioners today, proposes a tax rate of 10.5221 cents per $100 valuation, which is a decrease from the FY 2017-18 rate of 10.7385 cents.

Hazardous materials
The commissioners unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with the city of Austin to provide emergency hazardous materials response services to all areas of Travis County outside the city of Austin.

Expanding health services in Eastern Travis County
Commissioners discussed whether to commit $194,300 to the continued planning and engineering of a clinic facility at the Del Valle Community Center Campus, 3518 FM 973, Del Valle. The campus is expected to open in September with an activity center, WIC services and Travis County services, said Sherri Fleming, Travis County Executive of Health and Human Services.