Austin homeowners, along with large-scale irrigators, may have a chance to see a reduction in water fees by becoming part of Austin’s reclaimed water program.
Over 50 miles of reclaimed water runs in pipes beneath the streets, water that can be used for virtually anything other than top quality drinking water. For homeowners, such uses may include irrigation, decorative fountains and ponds, or toilet flushing. Reclaimed water also has many advantages in industrial usage and cooling towers.
Usually, up to 50% of a community’s drinking water is used for irrigation. With reclaimed water, customers can save precious drinking water while saving money. Users may also save on fertilizer, as reclaimed water has higher remainders of nitrogen and phosphorus. The use of reclaimed water also reduces the disposal of wastewater into waterways, lowering the nutrient overload these rivers often receive. Reclaimed water is a sustainable choice and a wise alternative to the use of drinking water for irrigation.
Reclaimed water is recycled from wastewater that comes from homes and businesses. It is then treated and made available for a variety of uses. It is less expensive to use or treat, around one-third the price of drinking water. It is treated for increased safety before being released back into the water system as standard effluent.
Clear and odorless, reclaimed water meets 90% of the standards for drinking water. It is not harmful to humans. Austin’s reclaimed water has passed all state and federal standards for non-potable water use.
New commercial developments are now required by city code to tap into the system for irrigation, cooling, and other uses.
Austin’s reclaimed water is also made available to those with water-hauling trucks at reclaimed water bulk water facilities throughout the area.
To see if your area is eligible to tap into the reclaimed water system, call Austin water at 512-972-0074. Reclaimed water may not be accessible or appropriate for all customers.