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In 2008, Austin Water conducted a comprehensive study to update and improve its methods for determining fair and defensible rates for its services.

As a collaborative partnership with Austin Water, the Joint Committee will assist in developing recommendations for short-term and long-term financial plans to strengthen the financial stability of Austin Water Utility.

Austin Water conducted a Cost of Service (COS) rate study of its water, wastewater, and reclaimed water rates in 2016. The process entailed a comprehensive review of the methodology used to allocate costs amongst customer classes and to update and improve the methods for determining fair and defensible rates of utility services. The rate study included extensive public involvement from our retail and wholesale customer class committees and the public.


Learn ways to reduce water use at your business and get information about available rebates for increasing water efficiency. Reducing water use can lower energy and wastewater costs as well. Participating in the 3C Business Challenge can also earn points toward qualifying for the Austin Green Business Leaders

Alternative water sources include highly treated reclaimed water from Austin Water’s wastewater treatment plants, and onsite water sources such as rainwater, graywater, condensate and stormwater. 

The City's Backflow Prevention Ordinance requires reclaimed water customers who also have drinking water service to use a backflow prevention assembly to keep reclaimed water from contaminating the drinking water system. While our reclaimed water quality is very high, it still does not meet drinking water standards, and water from the two systems should not mix.

The City of Austin and Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) have a Water Partnership to assess water use, implement water conservation strategies and ensure water quality for Austin and the surrounding area. The long-term plan is to ensure up to 250,000 acre-feet of additional water for Austin through 2100.

Commercial, multi-family, and city of Austin properties that are one-acre in size or larger must complete an irrigation system inspection every two years. An Austin Water Authorized Irrigation Inspector must perform the inspection.

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Austin Water’s Dowser Dan School Assembly Program has been bringing the message of water conservation to elementary school students in the community for nearly 30 years.

To file a claim with the City of Austin, you should send a letter addressed to: City of Austin Law Department P.O. Box 1546 Austin, TX 78767-1546  

Commercial, manufacturing, or trade establishments (including nonprofits, government agencies, and businesses) must obtain a permit to discharge industrial waste into the City’s sanitary sewer system. Most industrial waste producers will fall in the general industrial user category. If you have already obtained one, you may follow this link to print your current General Industrial User permit.

Our Industrial Waste Pretreatment Program ensures that local, state and federal regulations are met regarding the quality of wastewater discharged into the City’s wastewater system. Area businesses are required to install, operate and adequately maintain pretreatment devices and/or systems to remove pollutants that could otherwise damage or obstruct the wastewater collection system or interfere with the wastewater treatment process.

Evaluating  Your Own Irrigation System

Performing an irrigation system evaluation can help residents set an efficient watering schedule and identify the need for system repairs and upgrades.To see how problems with your system and leaks can add up to significantly higher water bills, go here.

Boats, marinas and shore facilities in the City of Austin must comply with local, state and federal laws to insure that sewage is managed appropriately and the City’s water supply is protected (Austin City Code, Chapter  6-5, Article 3).

Austin Water regulates all liquid waste haulers operating within the City of Austin's jurisdiction in accordance with City Code. Changes to these rules are proposed (see information under news items below). The wastes regulated include sewage, water and wastewater treatment plant sludge, and wastes from septic tanks, grease traps, grit traps and portable toilets.

A clean environment while serving food is good for your customers and your community. Waste water from your mobile food business must be disposed of properly to avoid clogging sewer lines or polluting the environment. Even on the go, there is much you can do to protect the environment and avoid fines.

To obtain reclaimed water service, call Austin Water at 512-972-0074 to determine if reclaimed water is available in your area. Not all areas of Austin have access to reclaimed water, and reclaimed water is not suitable for all customers. Austin Water can also provide information on special requirements, including signage, purple sprinkler heads, purple sprinkler control covers, and backflow prevention.

Graphic that says "Only flush toilet paper. No tissues, no paper towels, no napkins, no wipes" with images of those items.

Did you know? Rags, debris and wipes are the biggest sources of sewer overflows and backups.

By definition, a political subdivision can set its own rules within its jurisdiction. Given the importance of the Austin City Code as the enforcement authority behind our Pretreatment Program, a political subdivision in the Austin Water Utility service area discharging wastewater to the City presents a special concern. These concerns are compounded if the political subdivision receives any industrial sources of wastewater within its jurisdiction.

Wastewater surcharges are charged to businesses that discharge wastewater exceeding “normal” wastewater standards. Business wastewater can be more heavily concentrated with solids and organic matter than residential wastewater, making it more expensive to treat. 

In order to make reclaimed water available to customers with water hauling trucks, Austin Water has constructed, reclaimed water, bulk water facilities at several locations within the Austin area.  The goals behind the idea to construct reclaimed water bulk water facilities are to conserve potable water when the use of water is for non-potable use, begin to minimize the use of fire hydrants for non-potable needs and to make reclaimed water available to interested parties who do not have direct access to a City reclaimed water main via a reclaimed water meter. 

Commercial customers who currently pay a wastewater surcharge may request that their business be resampled and their surcharge reassessed. The wastewater surcharge only applies to permitted businesses discharging extra-strength wastewater. 

Conserving water has benefits beyond lowering your bill. Using less water requires less electricity for treatment services, reduces the need for expensive system expansions, and helps to ensure the availability of clean water for generations to come. In 2019, Austin achieved its lowest water use ever at 120 gallons per person per day. As our population continues to grow, Austin Water remains committed to offering effective tools, programs, and rebates to help customers conserve one of our most precious resources – water.

Significant Industrial Users (SIUs) are industrial waste producers that, by federal definition, require a specific level of regulatory attention. SIUs must meet self-monitoring and reporting requirements for effluent limitations, sample collection, reporting schedules, record keeping, and hazardous materials management.

Austin Water regularly performs sewer system smoke testing throughout the City of Austin to help locate defects and improve the sanitary sewer services.

Austin Water’s Standard Products List specifies acceptable manufacturer products for use in the construction of water, reclaimed water and wastewater facilities. These products have undergone stringent testing to ensure the safety, reliability and consistency within the Austin Water system.

State regulations and City ordinances require that reclaimed water users post signs at water storage tanks and hose bibs to notify people that reclaimed water is being used.

Reclaimed water customers must assure that reclaimed water plumbing is not accidentally connected to potable water plumbing. They must conduct an initial test of the integrity of both plumbing systems as required by plumbing code prior to receiving reclaimed water service. Annual testing of  plumbing system integrity is required and is usually conducted in conjunction with backflow prevention device testing.

Work to utility piping systems must be permitted or have temporary authorization by Austin Water to discharge into the sanitary sewer system, even if the building has a wastewater discharge permit.

Lock-in the Best Wastewater Rate

Wastewater averaging takes place during the late fall/winter months and coincides with seasonal low water use, when many households naturally cut back on irrigation, filling pools, washing cars, and other outside water uses.

Since your wastewater average is calculated when your water use is typically lowest, you’ll receive the best possible fixed monthly wastewater fee. It won’t go up - regardless of how much water you use the rest of the year.


Why does the City of Austin use a wastewater average as the basis for my wastewater bill?

Your water meter measures your monthly potable water use, but there is no meter to measure how much wastewater you send into the sewer. An averaging method based on potable water meter readings during the fall/winter months helps us determine how much wastewater you send into the sewer system. 

The Federal Clean Water Act regulates discharges into the U.S. surface water bodies such as streams, lakes and estuaries. All plants discharging treated effluent into surface waters of the U.S. are required to obtain a permit that regulates the quantity and quality of their discharges. In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency delegated the oversight of this program in Texas to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

On September 11, 2018, The Austin City Council voted to pass an ordinance updating impact fees that can be assessed by Austin Water. The vote was the culmination of over a year of public outreach and stakeholder input on how best to structure the fees, coordinated through the Impact Fee Advisory Committee.

Water Forward is Austin’s 100-year integrated water resource plan. Water Forward is an adaptive plan to be updated on a 5-year cycle and evaluates and plans for water supply and demand management strategies for the City of Austin in a regional water supply context. Through public outreach and coordination of efforts between City departments and the Water Forward Task Force, Water Forward is a holistic and inclusive approach to water resource planning.

The Executive Management Committee (EMC) is the guiding force for the Water Partnership and its organization. It helps develop strategic goals and oversees approved joint water supply strategy evaluation and implementation. In addition, the EMC coordinates stakeholder communication. The EMC must meet quarterly, but may have additional meetings and workshops as necessary to conduct business.

The Water Partnership's Stakeholder Committee is a 15-member group representing the public's diverse interests and backgrounds.

Austin Water delivers drinking water of the highest quality at an exceptional value. Your water is tested multiple times a day, every day, as it passed through the treatment process to ensure you receive the highest quality drinking water - every time you turn on the tap. 


Austin Water currently has three water treatment plants which draw water from the Colorado River and treat it to drinking water quality. After water is pumped from the river into the plants, it goes through several treatment steps to ensure that citizens are provided with clean and safe water.  

The Austin Water Utility and our paying customers are victims of millions of gallons of water annually stolen from fire hydrants.

WTP4, Austin Water’s newest water treatment plant is completed.  The plant, which is located on Lake Travis, is capable of treating 50 million gallons a day (mgd) with room to expand to 300 mgd. This investment will add reliability by giving utility customers an additional plant that draws from Lake Travis instead of Lake Austin, save energy in serving the north and northwest Desired Development Zone, and provide for continuous service during shutdowns and repairs of Austin Water’s two other treatment plants and aging pump stations which are critical to getting water to customers.

The City of Austin adopted Ordinance No. 20121011-005  which went into effect on Oct. 22, 2012. This ordinance (now Chapter 15-12 of the Austin City Code) includes registration requirements that apply in conjunction with the drilling of water wells, the installation of water well pumps and other closely related activities. As of early 2014, properties with one or more water wells are charged a monthly fee.