Stage 3 water restrictions extended for western portion of Georgetown water service area
Jul 10, 2023
Other Georgetown water customers may continue one-day-per-week watering
Customers in the western side of the City of Georgetown’s service area – generally the areas west of D.B. Wood Road and southwest of Williams Drive – will remain in Drought Stage 3 restrictions until further notice due to the prolonged drought and continued water supply challenges.
Watering with an irrigation system or hose-end sprinkler is prohibited during Drought Stage 3. Hand-watering is allowed any time of any day, including for lawns, foundations, plants, trees, and more. No one is exempted from these restrictions. Residents can report violations here.
“Our normal peak season for water demand ends in August, but we continue to see high water demand and are forecasted to have triple-digit weather into September,” City Manager David Morgan said. “Given the severity of the drought and continued, high water usage, it isn’t safe for our water supply to bring the western area out of Stage 3 at this time.”
The City continues to work toward pulling more water from the City of Leander and completing the rehabilitation of the Southside Water Treatment Plant. The City expects to have a viable pump to pull additional water from the Leander connection by mid-September. Regulatory testing at the Southside Water Treatment Plant is scheduled for mid-September. After that, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has up to 60 days to review the results and clear the plant to deliver water to customers. The City is working with TCEQ to significantly reduce their timeline. The City is expediting these two projects and monitoring the drought and weather conditions with the goal of lifting the Drought Stage 3 restrictions as quickly as possible.
“We appreciate everyone who has followed our water restrictions, so we can continue to provide safe drinking water for all our customers,” Morgan said. “We are pushing to bring on additional capacity and lift the restrictions as soon as possible.”
Customers not in the affected area will remain in Drought Stage 2 restrictions, which allow for one-day-per-week outdoor watering. Strict compliance to the one-day schedule is required to avoid additional restrictions.
You can enter your address into the interactive map below to find out if you are in the Drought Stage 2 or Stage 3 area.iFrames are not supported on this page.
You may also view a map of the affected area, including water infrastructure locations, here.
Georgetown water customers that remain in Drought Stage 3 restrictions include but are not limited to residents and businesses:
Several factors contributed to the City’s decision to keep 35 percent of its customers — including customers in the ETJ, outside the ETJ, and within City limits — in Drought Stage 3 restrictions:
Find more information on rebates, programming your controller how-to videos, and information on our water system at water.georgetown.org.
The primary water sources for the three pump stations serving the Drought Stage 3 area are the Southside Water Treatment Plant, Northlake Plant, and the City of Leander. The Southside Plant is offline for rehabilitation; the Northlake Water Treatment Plant pumps that serve this area have been running a maximum capacity; and the water from Leander remains greatly reduced. There are no other alternative water sources for those three pump stations due to the topography of the area (unlike other parts of the City water system that do have alternatives). Once the Southside Water Treatment Plant comes back online, an additional 3 million gallons of capacity per day would be dedicated to this area. Additionally, the City is working to install a pump to pull additional water from the City of Leander. Until those projects are completed, the western area will remain the most stressed part of the water system. In other words, we are targeting the restrictions in response to the operational need to stabilize that specific area of our system. The other parts of the system benefit from different water sources that are currently stable.
These restrictions are necessary to maintain the integrity of the City’s drinking water system. The City Manager has broad authority to order water conservation measures necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare.
The City of Georgetown is collecting water from the City of Leander. The amount of water coming from the City of Leander since July 13 is not sufficient to keep up with demand in the west or to get our western area out of Drought Stage 3.
We are coordinating with Leander to develop both near- and long-term solutions to best serve all our customers and pull our customers out of Drought Stage 3.
The challenges are compounded by the high demand for water for irrigation in the west and the Southside Treatment Plant, which also serves the western area, being offline for rehabilitation.
The City of Leander is operating its system at a lower pressure level this summer, which the City of Georgetown didn’t learn about until mid-July. In order for Georgetown to pull an adequate amount of water from the Leander system operating a lower pressure, we need to purchase a new pump. The City has been trying to secure a viable pump since mid-July. The two pumps the City received and tested were not viable. We are in the process of having a third pump delivered and expect it to start pulling additional water by mid-September. Once water from the pump meets state testing requirements, we expect to be able to pull up to 1.5 million gallons a day from Leander between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Surface water rights for Lake Georgetown and Lake Stillhouse are contracted through the Brazos River Authority. Each municipality is unique with how many acre feet they have access to in the lakes per their contracts, as well as how many other sources of water (like wells, MUDS, etc.) they pull from to total their available capacities in their service areas. Watering restrictions look different for every City, and they are based on things like treatment capacity, usage, lake levels, and drought conditions.
The water supply issue is a regional challenge given the prolonged drought and the amount of water used to irrigate lawns in the summer months. More than a dozen cities in the surrounding area are under watering restrictions.
Please email [email protected] with your address and concern. If possible and approved by the property owner, the City can turn off water to the irrigation system.
All six golf courses in Georgetown and Southwestern University use reclaimed water, as do some City maintained outdoor facilities, such as soccer fields. Sun City also uses reclaimed water for their communal facilities, in addition to their golf course. Car washes also recycle their water.
The state legislature has severely limited what municipalities can do to restrict growth. If developers can meet our development rules, they are entitled to develop their property. We are in the process of updating our development rules to match the vision we adopted in the 2030 Plan. Find out more about the 2030 plan here.
All new development pays impact fees, which help fund capital improvements to the City’s water infrastructure. Currently, those funds contribute to the $200 million, 44 million gallon-a-day Southlake Water Treatment Plant, half of this plant is scheduled to come online in 2025, and to the Northlake Water Treatment Plant expansion of 8 million gallons per day which should come online in the next two months. Learn more about water capital improvement projects here.
The City is statutorily required to meet daily drinking water needs. (i.e., drinking water, showers, toilets, etc.). The City has capacity constraints s during the summer months when the vast majority of our drinking water is used to irrigate lawns. That is why the recent order was narrowly tailored to meet our immediate conservation needs.
Yes, hand-held watering is allowed at any time during both Drought Stage 2 and Stage 3 restrictions. Hand-held watering includes holding your hose with a nozzle and watering with a watering can or bucket. You can hand-water anything, including your lawn, plants, and foundation.
A person may not use water to add to an indoor or outdoor swimming pool, splash pad, or hot-tub, unless necessary to maintain the water purification system in service or to maintain structural integrity of the pool.
The City is continuing to monitor this unprecedented situation and will only implement water restrictions in a portion of our water service area as necessary to preserve the integrity of our drinking water system. Our primary goal is maintaining sufficient pressures for drinking water and other domestic uses in the western portions of our service area.
The City initially chose Sept. 4 to end the Drought Stage 3 restrictions, because peak demand season for our water utility typically ends in August. Due to the record-setting heat, which is forecasted to continue into September, and prolonged drought (see Gov. Abbott’s order issuing a disaster declaration for 37 counties, including Williamson County, due to the drought) we are seeing higher demand for water and anticipate that to extend into September.
Landscape install variances are not permitted in Drought Stage 3 restrictions, and sod is not required by our building code to allow homes to be sold or occupied within the City of Georgetown. We are allowing residential builders to provide us a letter of intent to install landscaping when water restrictions are lifted at their final inspection. Generally, we do not recommend laying down new sod during the heat of summer.
TCEQ regulations require water utilities to flush water lines regularly to ensure safe drinking water. The water coming out of the fire hydrants should not be used for consumption or irrigation.Other Georgetown water customers may continue one-day-per-week watering DROUGHT STAGE 2 RESTRICTIONSDROUGHT STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONSWhy has the City extended Drought Stage 3 restrictions in only a portion of its service area?How much water is Georgetown pulling from the City of Leander?Why did the City of Georgetown not have a pump to pull more water from the City of Leander already?How do surface water rights work, and why are neighboring cities not in the same restrictions we are?Will we fine residents who were out of town and unable to change their irrigation during the temporary restrictions?What about golf courses and car washes?Why is the City continuing to approve new development when Drought Stage 3 restrictions are in place?Is the City meeting its obligations to provide water within its service area?Is hand-held watering allowed during these restrictions?Why can’t I fill my pool?Why can’t the City specify when Stage 3 restrictions will be lifted?What are we doing about new homes that need to install new sod?Why is the City flushing water out of hydrants?