Rollingwood to pursue project that could reduce widespread boil water advisories

Rollingwood City Council gave the green light March 17 to tackle a project focused on its water line and valve system. (Courtesy Pexels)
Rollingwood City Council gave the green light March 17 to tackle a project focused on its water line and valve system. (Courtesy Pexels)

Rollingwood City Council gave the green light March 17 to tackle a project focused on its water line and valve system. (Courtesy Pexels)

Over the past 36 months, Rollingwood staff has addressed 30 water line leaks throughout the city—20 of which resulted in a boil water notice, according to data presented during a March 17 City Council meeting.

When leaks are reported by the city’s water operator, AWR Services, more homes than necessary are issued a boil water notice. The most recent line break resulted in a boil advisory for more than a third of Rollingwood households.

This is because roughly 70% of Rollingwood’s water line infrastructure is of unknown age, Mayor Michael Dyson said during the meeting. Without an accurate water line map or understanding of the city’s valve system, city staff is at times unable to isolate the homes impacted by line breaks or leaks.

As a result, council unanimously agreed March 17 to pursue a project focused on obtaining a more accurate outline of the city’s system.

Council approved a $67,900 contract with M.E. Simpson Co., a company that provides technical services to water utilities, to conduct a valve, manhole and mapping project. City Administrator Amber Lewis said M.E. Simpson Co., which has experience working with the city of Austin, came as a recommendation from a Rollingwood public works staff member.



The company will exercise all of the city’s valves, map the system and provide any recommendations for needed repairs. Ensuring that valves are both operational and locatable will not only aid the city in addressing leaks but is also imperative for firefighting efforts, according to the council’s agenda.

The process will include determining where the valves are, what they control and the development of a comprehensive map to work in conjunction with Rollingwood’s existing system, according to M.E. Simpson CEO Mike Simpson.

The project is slated to take 60 days to complete and will be funded through Rollingwood’s water fund. The council will meet again in April to approve a required budget amendment for fiscal year 2020-21.

“Unfortunately, water leaks are too common in the city of Rollingwood. What could make everybody’s life better when one of those happens if we had an accurate map and understood our valves,” Lewis said.

By Amy Rae Dadamo
Amy Rae Dadamo is the reporter for Lake Travis-Westlake, where her work focuses on city government and education. Originally from New Jersey, Amy Rae relocated to Austin after graduating from Ramapo College of New Jersey in May 2019.