Austin dealing with ‘tens of thousands’ of water main breaks, officials say

Boil-water notices are still in place for some Austin residents. (Courtesy Pexels)
Boil-water notices are still in place for some Austin residents. (Courtesy Pexels)

Boil-water notices are still in place for some Austin residents. (Courtesy Pexels)

Homes and businesses still without water as of Feb. 22 should blame water main repairs, as the utility system can now provide water citywide, Austin’s top water official said.

However, the historic winter storm that barreled through Austin last week and caused mass power outages also resulted in “tens of thousands” of private water main breaks, as well as over 100 public water main breaks, Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros said Feb. 22.

“[There is] substantial damage to the public distribution system and private plumbing and a lot of work ahead to clean those up,” Meszaros said.

He said many of the private main breaks were “large” and that the more than 100 public water main breaks were “10 to 20 times more” than the water utility was used to during this time of year. More than 20 Austin Water crews are working around the clock to fix the breaks.

“As we look back on this event, we’re going to find that it was the preponderance of all of these public and private breaks that was really the main cause of our system draining out of water,” Meszaros said.


He said last week that the city lost about 100 million gallons of water reserves due to breaks and leaks, which forced the city into a boil-water notice.

As of the evening of Feb. 22, the boil-water notice was lifted for most Austin Water customers, with the exceptions of those in the southwest and northwest corners of town. Aside from the homes and businesses dealing with water main damage, all Austin Water customers have access to water.
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


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