Austin Mayor Steve Adler declared a local state of disaster Thursday as the city continues to grapple with flood damage and a contaminated water system.
Weeks of extended rainfall have set off a damaging chain reaction in the Central Texas region. Destructive flooding upstream in the Hill Country has carried extraordinary levels sediment into Austin’s water resources, suffocating the city’s water treatment process and leading city officials to warn of potential contamination in Austin’s tap water. Austin has been under an unprecedented citywide boil water notice since Oct. 22 and residents have been told to cut back on water use.
The disaster declaration signed by the mayor on Thursday highlights the damage set off by the floods and says it will likely continue into the “foreseeable future” and requires emergency action. Travis County and the State of Texas have also signed disaster declarations for the area.
“We just want to make sure we’re not leaving on the table any possible reimbursement opportunities that may exist,” Adler said Thursday.
Predicted to last one week, unless extended by will of the City Council, the declaration activates Austin’s Emergency Operations Plan. In a tweet sent out Thursday, Adler said the declaration is necessary for help with reimbursement of damage and procurement of assistance.
Everybody’s conserving water! Water quality and reserves are improving! We must keep conserving! Still anticipating late-weekend end to boiling. In the meantime, I’ve declared a local state of disaster https://t.co/RX2ZzpflMn necessary to help with reimbursement & procurement.
— Mayor Adler (@MayorAdler) October 25, 2018
Adler said signing the disaster declaration could help in getting federal funding, as well as allows the city to go out and immediately procure resources, such as water, by circumventing what is typically a lengthy procurement process.
The most important message, Adler said, is that the city needs to continue conserving water. Should conservation efforts continue, Adler said he expected the city to lift the boil water notice by the “late weekend.”
Read the full disaster declaration here.