The Field Operations Division protects and manages Austin’s natural waterways, engineered channels, drainage pipelines and storm water ponds that together make up our city’s drainage system.

Creeks, Lakes and Concrete Channels

Our maintenance program encourages the flow of water while allowing our creeks to remain as natural as possible.

  • We remove debris from culverts and bridges, where it is most likely to obstruct the flow of water.  Call 3-1-1 to report a blockage.
  • We stabilize eroded stream banks.
  • We close low-water crossings during storms.
  • We remove debris from Lady Bird Lake between Tom Miller and Longhorn Dams and maintain its 14 miles of shoreline.

Green Infrastructure Management

Watershed Protection owns and maintains more than 700 acres throughout the city. This land is meant to reduce flooding and erosion, improve water quality and promote a healthy ecosystem. Our land may be anything from park-like open spaces, working landscapes and fenced detention ponds. Maintenance can include mowing four times per year, seeding with native grasses and wildflowers or potentially other activities. Please see the Green Infrastructure Management pages below for more information:

Pipes and Inlets

Austin has an estimated 1,080 miles of drainage pipes that help prevent flooding. We inspect the City’s drainage pipelines by remote-control video equipment. We clean, repair, replace and improve the pipes and associated infrastructure. We respond to reports of problems after hours and during storms. Call 3-1-1 to report a problem.


Stormwater ponds either protect water quality, help reduce flooding or both. Although they are called ponds, they may not hold water except when it rains. We inspect, maintain and repair more than 850 of these ponds in residential areas and inspect another 6,300 privately-maintained, commercial ponds. Documents for pond owners:

State and Federal Regulations

We maintain Austin’s Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) permit. More about the Stormwater Permit Program.

Waller Creek Tunnel

We maintain the Waller Creek Tunnel that protects one million square feet of downtown land and 12 roads from flooding.