Rumors of worsening water quality are false, city officials say

Megan Menchaca

A widely shared image of claims the water quality in Austin is going to get worse is false.

The uncropped image features messages from someone named Alex claiming to work for “municipal districts” in Travis County. In the rest of the messages, the person says the water in Travis County will not be safe for showering or washing hands.

The image was shared among UT students Thursday evening in group chats, text messages and on Twitter by theatre and dance freshman Nicholas Saldivar. The now-deleted Twitter post gained dozens of likes and retweets.

Ginny Guerrero, a public information officer for Austin Water, said there was nothing to indicate the claims in the image were true. In a press conference Friday morning, Austin Mayor Steve Adler said the boil water notice will likely end by Sunday evening. 

“(The image) is complete misinformation,” Guerrero said. “There is no test or reason to believe that will be the case.”

Saldivar said in a direct message on Twitter he shared the image because he was scared and wanted to warn people about a potential decrease in the water quality. Saldivar said he deleted the tweet this morning after learning it was false.

“I was worried about myself having access to water and showering,” Saldivar said in a direct message. “I wouldn’t want my friends to not get a shower before the water was degraded. Looking back on it, I truly did jump the gun but I guess that’s what happens when you’re scared.”

Jimmy Johnson, assistant vice president for campus safety, said in an email the University will continue to distribute free bottled water on the main campus through the weekend.

Austin Water remains under a boil notice for now. Officials are advising all Austin residents to boil water before consumption and reduce water usage whenever possible.