Austin Proposes $430 Million ‘Water Forward’ Project to Ensure Future Supply

by | Nov 20, 2018

The city of Austin, Texas, will vote next week on a proposed integrated water resource plan that calls for new conservation efforts in an effort to ensure the city is able to meet demand in coming decades. The long-term “Water Forward” project is expected to cost nearly $430 over the next 21 years; upgrades are expected to run another $614 million, according to Storm Water Solutions.

The plan includes the monitoring of water use via smart meters, the reuse of greywater for nonpotable uses, and the storage of potable water in artificial underground aquifers as a backup supply.

Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. With the expectation that the city’s population will shoot from one million currently to four million over the next century, a city council task force has been working with Austin Water and other city departments on a water resource resiliency plan since 2014. The plan “embraces an innovative and integrated water management process with the goal of ensuring a diversified, sustainable and resilient water future with strong emphasis on water conservation,” the city says.

In addition to water conservation efforts, the city of Austin has embraced other sustainability goals, including a plan to achieve zero waste by 2040. To help reach that goal, the city passed a law earlier this year meant to reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills. The law requires restaurants to divert discarded organic material from landfills, educate employees on a regular basis, and submit an Organic Diversion Plan each year.

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