UPDATE: Floodgates expected to be open at Mansfield Dam through the end of October

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Update: 3:42 p.m. Oct. 23

The 3:25 p.m. LCRA update said floodgates at Starcke dam have been closed. All the gates are closed at Buchanan and Wirtz dams, too. The city of Austin is currently holding a press conference.

Update: 2:37 p.m. Oct. 23

All floodgates at Buchanan and Wirtz Dams are closed according to the 2:15 p.m. LCRA update. The four floodgates at Mansfield Dam are expected to remain open through the end of the month, the update said.

Update: 11:47 a.m. Oct. 23

Travis County Chief Emergency Management Coordinator Eric Carter told the Commissioners Court the boil water notice for the city of Austin could last up to two weeks.

“We aren’t necessarily at water shortage, Carter said. “We have to take an extra step in order for the water to be safe to drink. Our initial estimate is that this is situation could go on for 10-14 days, as the water system tries to settle.”

More of Tuesday’s update can be found here.

Update 6:54 a.m. Oct. 23

Austin Water customers continue a second day of the boil water notice imposed by the city of Austin. The city of Austin website said the water treatment plants can produce approximately 105 gallons per day, while the customer use is 120 million gallons per day.

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said Austinites must reduce water consumption to help the city’s three water plants keep up with demand.

Until further notice, Austin residents are prohibited from using water for irrigation, to wash any vehicles, wash pavement or other services, add to a pool or spa, conduct foundation watering or operate an ornamental fountain or pond.

The city said the emergency use restrictions are needed to make sure water is available for fire fighting and basic needs. The water treatment plants are unable to remove all of the silt and debris from the water coming in after historic floods during the last two weeks.

Meszaros said the water hasn’t tested for bacterial issues at this time, but urged residents to boil all water for consumption for three minutes.

Lakes remain closed

Due to flooding and swift currents, Lakes Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls and Travis remain closed until at least Thursday, according to the latest update from the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Property owners may access the lakes to recover or secure their property from the waters if the location is known. LCRA said sightseeing, fishing and searching for property on those lakes is still banned.

Update Oct. 22 8:20 a.m.

Austin ISD and Austin Community College District campuses remain open and on regular schedule during the boil advisory.

Original post

A day after asking Austinites to reduce water usage, the city has issued a boil water advisory for all customers of Austin Water until further notice.

At a televised press conference at 6 a.m. Monday, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk said Mother Nature has thrown more at the system than the system could take, causing the first-ever boil water advisory for all users of the water system.

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The Austin Water service area is under a boil water alert. (via Courtesy Austin Water)

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said all three of Austin’s drinking water plants are unable to meet desired water clarity levels for customers. While safe for showers, laundry and other household uses, any water used for consumption should be boiled for three minutes before being used.

The city said all restaurants, food establishments and schools have been notified and inspectors will be available to provide assistance where needed.

Meszaros said the water looks like chocolate milk due to mud kicked up with all of the storm water flowing through the water system, but he doesn’t think it is a bacterial issue at this point.

Residents are asked to continue to restrict water usage where possible, including a ban on watering lawns.

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Joe Warner
Joe Warner is managing editor of the nine Austin-Central Texas editions of Community Impact Newspaper. He previously served as senior editor of the flagship Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto newspaper. He came to Central Texas from Metro Detroit, where he was editor and general manager of several daily and weekly publications. He is the former president of the Michigan Press Association and was on the MPA board of directors for nine years.
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