In September 2021, the City of Austin adopted amendments to Section 25-9 of the Land Development Code to require a Water Benchmarking Application for all new commercial, multi-family and mixed-use Site Plan Applications.

Purpose

The Water Benchmarking Application provides an opportunity for Site Plan applicants to assess how water will be used within their development projects and identify water reuse/water conservation opportunities before construction begins.

Each Water Benchmarking applicant is provided with a set of recommendations for how to improve water use efficiency within their specific project as well as information on the benefits of incorporating these recommendations into their project, such as water utility bill savings and available rebates or incentives.

Water Benchmarking is a strategy adopted in the City of Austin’s Water Forward Plan to help reduce water demand in new commercial development projects by helping developments identify water conservation opportunities upfront and encouraging voluntary adoption of water efficiency strategies. Future implementation of this demand management strategy will require development projects to establish and adhere to an annual water budget.

Who Must Comply?

The Water Benchmarking Application is required for all new commercial, multi-family and mixed-use Site Plan Applications submitted on or after December 1st, 2021.

Also, Site Plan applicants for development projects with a total gross floor area of 250,000 square feet or more must meet with Austin Water staff to discuss the results of the Water Benchmarking Application prior to Site Plan approval. This is an informational meeting and is intended to serve as a resource for the applicant.  The meeting will cover water efficiency code requirements, provide information on water reuse/water conservation opportunities for the project, and incentives and rebates for incorporating water efficiency and water reuse into a project.

How to Complete the Application

Follow these simple steps to complete the Water Benchmarking Application and obtain Site Plan approval: 

  1. Open the Water Benchmarking Application in Survey123 field app and submit basic project information, most of which can be found in the project’s Site Plan.
     
  2. Review the results of the application on a summary dashboard which will be sent via email to assess how water will be used within your development project. Applicants will also be provided recommendations and information on incentives for how to decrease water use in their project.
     
  3. Complete a follow-up survey in the summary dashboard about the water efficiency measures that will be incorporated into your development project. The answers provided are for data collection purposes only, and projects will not be required to incorporate water efficiency measures that are above and beyond current City Code requirements.

    NOTE: The Water Benchmarking Application is only complete after the submission of the follow up survey.
     

  4. After you submit your Site Plan Application, an Austin Water reviewer will leave comments in AMANDA if there are discrepancies between the Site Plan Application and the Water Benchmarking Application. Corrections to either application may be required for the Site Plan approval. 
     
  5. Meet with Austin Water staff to discuss the results of the Water Benchmarking Application if your development project has a total gross floor area of 250,000 square feet or more.
     

Additional Resources

Use these helpful resources below to help you with your Water Benchmarking Application. 

Contact

For more information, contact AW_Benchmarking@austintexas.gov