Due to sustained high water use nearing system treatment capacity, the City of Georgetown is temporarily enacting and enforcing Stage 3 of the Drought Contingency Plan effective July 14-17, 2023. Watering with an irrigation system or hose-end sprinkler is prohibited during this time. The City will decide early next week whether to extend or increase these restrictions.
The water is safe to drink. Eliminating outdoor water usage is critical to keeping our water safe and to avoid boil water notices.
“We need every one of our water customers to immediately stop outdoor watering, at least through Monday,” Georgetown Mayor Josh Schroeder said. “Conserving water this weekend is critical to giving our system enough time to recover, so we can lift these temporary restrictions, but we won’t know for sure until Monday.”
Georgetown water customers must turn off all irrigation systems effective immediately. City leaders are making direct contact with large developers, homeowner associations, and high-water users and informing them that they must stop watering outdoors during this time.
All City splashpads and City facility irrigation systems will be turned off. City-maintained pools will remain open, as water use is minimal and must be done to maintain operations and sanitation.
Over the past two weeks, water production from the City’s water treatment plants has exceeded 90 percent of capacity on multiple days, triggering an immediate need to conserve water to allow our system to recover. During the summer months, 75 percent of the water produced each day by water treatment plants is used for lawn and landscape irrigation.
“While irrigation is the bulk of the issue, we also have not been receiving the full, contracted amount of treated water from the City of Leander,” City Manager David Morgan said. “Between conservation and some additional capacity coming online this weekend we are hopeful we will not have to extend Stage 3 restrictions beyond Monday.”
This call for limiting water use only applies to City of Georgetown water customers. See a map of Georgetown’s water utility here. Round Rock water customers west of I-35 and all City of Leander water customers also are prohibited from outdoor watering this weekend due to treatment and supply limitations.
Updates will be posted here and on social media pages.
Find more information on rebates, programming your controller how-to videos, and information on our water system at water.georgetown.org.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is hand-held watering allowed during these restrictions?
Yes, hand-held watering is allowed during the temporary Stage 3 restrictions.
Will we roll the schedule to allow Friday-Sunday customers to water next week?
Since this is expected to be an isolated issue for just three days, we will not be changing the watering schedule.
Will we fine residents who were out of town and unable to change their irrigation during the temporary restrictions?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and concern. If possible and approved by the property owner, the City can turn off water to the irrigation system.
Why is the City continuing to approve new development when we can’t serve our current residents?
Cities are limited in what we can do to restrict growth, predominately because it’s a property rights issue. When developers/landowners submit a plan for their property, it goes through our development and permitting process. If they 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.
Enacting a moratorium will do little to stop the development you see now. The developments you see coming online today were vested to their rights 3-5 years ago. It takes about a year for a development agreement to be negotiated with the City; a year to design and permit; and a year to construct infrastructure before the first house in a new subdivision ever receives water from us.
The developments being negotiated today will pay impact fees, which will help fund the $200 million, 44 million gallon-a-day Southlake Water Treatment Plant. Half of this plant is scheduled to come online in 2025. The Northlake Water Treatment Plant expansion of 8 million gallons per day should come online in the next two months. Learn more about water capital improvement projects here.
Additionally, we have enough treated drinking water for our customers’ daily, domestic uses (i.e. drinking water, showers, toilets, etc.). We only run into capacity issues during the summer months, when the vast majority of our water is used to irrigate lawns. That is why we ask for communitywide participation in conservation efforts, particularly in the summer. Conservation is easy, and something everyone can do.