Amid struggles with electricity, gas, water service Bee Cave, Lakeway discuss possible use of shelters

The cities of Lakeway and Bee Cave have discussed the possibility of opening shelters to help residents struggling with basic utility services. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
The cities of Lakeway and Bee Cave have discussed the possibility of opening shelters to help residents struggling with basic utility services. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The cities of Lakeway and Bee Cave have discussed the possibility of opening shelters to help residents struggling with basic utility services. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

As west Travis County residents struggle with basic utility services, the cities of Bee Cave and Lakeway have discussed the possibility of setting up shelters, according to a Feb. 16 Facebook post by Bee Cave Mayor Kara King.

“We are working with LTISD (Lake Travis Independent School District) to get schools open as shelters. LTISD is getting crews to check out the status of heat and water inside their buildings,” King said in her post. She also stated in her post that the city was partnering with the city of Lakeway.

Jarrod Wise, Lakeway communications director, confirmed that a discussion of the use of shelters had taken place, but it only remained an option as of the evening of Feb. 16. No other details were available at the time of this posting.

At issue, according to King’s social media post, are the struggles area residents are having with water, gas and electricity service.

Many area water customers of WCID 17, or Water Control and Improvement District 17, are waiting on service to be restored; however, the utility is struggling with broken pipes as well as frozen equipment, according to the WCID website. The WCID 17 website also described a process whereby area water towers needed refilling.


“We ask that the public understand, the refilling of our system of water towers will be a slow and controlled process and that while water levels are beginning to rise in our supply system, the filling process will take at least 10-12 hours,” according to a statement posted on the utility’s website. “We ask that our customers continue to practice extreme conservation tonight and into tomorrow as we bring our systems back online.”

Additionally, the utility stated residents of Majestic Hills, Falconhead West, some areas of Flintrock Falls and Serene Hills may not see service fully restored until Feb. 18 due to frozen equipment.

Also a concern, according to King’s social media post, is the supply of propane to heat area homes and a similar problem with extensive electric outages from Austin Energy.

“I am estimating about 50% of the area is unable to heat their homes. The weather is going to get worse, tonight and Wednesday,” she said.

At 6:30 p.m., the National Weather Service forecast for the Austin area was a 70% chance of a winter mix of sleet and freezing rain overnight Feb. 16 and into Feb. 17. Conditions are not expected to improve until Feb. 18, according to the weather service.

In response, the King began circulating via Facebook a sign up sheet so that area residents could offer to use their homes as shelters for those without proper heat. As of 6:30 p.m., the Neighbors Helping Neighbors initiative has about 25 families signed up to offer help.

Meanwhile, the city of Lakeway via its website was urging residents to not venture out on area roadways. As of 6:30 p.m. the following roadways were closed:

• Dragon Street: from Highlander to Flamingo


• Duck Lake: from Clubhouse to Palos Verdes


• Highlands Boulevard: from Rough Hollow Drive to Duffy Lane 


• Lakeway Boulevard: from Duck Lake to Top of the Lake


• Lakeway Drive: from Cross Creek to Lakeway Boulevard


• Serene Hills Drive: from Hwy. 71 to Flintrock Road 

By Greg Perliski
Greg edits Community Impact Newspaper's Lakeway/Lake Travis and Northwest Austin editions. During the course of his diverse career, he has written for newspapers, online publications and corporate communications teams. He earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin. You can reach him at gperliski@communityimpact.com


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