During a meeting of Austin City Council on May 18, council members approved two engineering contracts to build elevated water reservoirs in South Austin.

The gist

Following recommendations made by The University of Texas Center for Water and the Environment to develop additional pathways for water distribution to reach South Austin residents, council members approved the two contracts for the Southwest Parkway Transmission Main and Elevated Reservoir project as well as the South I-35 Elevated Reservoir project. The projects will not exceed $14 million total, which will be divided between the contractors, according to records.

Why it matters

South Austin, specifically Southwest Austin, was hardest hit during Winter Storm Uri because of the distance from centralized sources of water supply, officials said in a news release May 18, citing the new reservoirs will enable greater storage capacity in Austin Water’s service area during extreme weather events.

Digging deeper

The two projects are expected to be completed by 2030, officials said. The Southwest Parkway project, which will hold approximately 2 million gallons of water, will be located at Southwest Parkway near Ammarra Lane. Officials said it will expand water storage redundancy and system resiliency for customers in Southwest Austin. This elevated reservoir and associated transmission main will allow Austin Water crews to conduct maintenance while minimizing impacts on customers in the area, officials said. The I-35 elevated reservoir, which will hold approximately 3 million gallons of water, will be located along the South I-35 service road. Officials said it will provide additional storage capacity and resiliency in areas of South and Southeast Austin while improving hydraulic efficiency at a nearby pump station. Austin Water operates 44 pump stations and 38 water reservoirs to help move water throughout the system to meet customer demand and maintain water pressure, according to the Austin Water website. To help customers get a better understanding of other projects that are in the works, Austin Water put together an interactive map.

Quote of note

“This capital improvement project is going to be really important for Southwest Austin to make sure that we have access to clean and safe drinking water as climate change continues to have impacts on our utilities,” Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis said during the May 18 council meeting.