Boil notice could last a couple days or 10 to 14

Meghan Nguyen and Katie Balevic

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said Tuesday the water boil notice would only last a “handful of days,” in contradiction with earlier reports that the notice could last 10 to 14 days. In response, the University began supplying water bottles to students on campus for the duration of the notice.

“Contrary to reports, the city of Austin does not anticipate our water issues to last beyond a handful of days, depending on weather and consumption,” Adler tweeted. 

Adler said he anticipates the notice will be over by the weekend.

Meanwhile, University administration prepared to supply water bottles to students for the next two weeks, according to an email from Melissa Moore, UTPD student development and engagement coordinator. Water stations have been set up at the Recreational Sports Center, Gregory Gymnasium, Student Services Building and The Texas Union from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and each station will receive five pallets of bottled water each day.

Jimmy Johnson, assistant vice president for campus safety, said in an email to the UT community that the Housing and Dining and Union facilities are operating normally, but students should still try to bring their own water and food to campus.

“You can help too by taking less time to shower, not washing your cars and seeking to minimize overall water use,” Johnson said.

Adler said the city is now producing 108 million gallons per day of clean water, which is less than is being consumed. Adler said the more water residents conserve, the sooner the boil notice can be resolved. 

The boil notice was announced Monday as a result of flooding. Eric Carter, the Travis County chief emergency management coordinator, said the increased flow of water through Lake Travis increased the amount of silt and debris floating in the water.

“We aren’t necessarily at a water shortage,” Carter said. “We just have a situation where we have to take an extra step to make sure our water is safe to drink.”

Carter said as the city orders shipments of water, it is focusing on helping institutions without an alternative to boil water, such as hospitals, schools and jails. 

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt told residents to be mindful about boiling water instead of purchasing bottled water. 

“There have been some panicked runs on bottled water,” Eckhardt said. “For those of you who can boil water, please do.”