Feb 14, 2022 - News

Special Austin City Council meeting set for water issues

Photo: Thomas Ryan Allison/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Reeling from a boil-water debacle that made national headlines, Austin City Council members will meet Tuesday to address last week's drinking water emergency.

Driving the news: The meeting comes amid turmoil at Austin Water, the city's water and wastewater utility.

  • On Friday, Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros resigned after 15 years on the job.
  • Three employees have been placed on administrative leave while an investigation takes place.

Why it matters: The early February boil requirement was Austin's third since 2018 and caused by an employee error.

  • Days later, a spokesperson for Austin Water told KUT that the state did not find any contaminants in tests of the water sent over the course of several days.

Between the lines: It’s an election year, and council members, eager to show they’re engaged, have vowed to investigate.

"Austinites deserve a safe, reliable, and resilient water system in which they can have full confidence," Council Member Paige Ellis said in a statement.

Our thought bubble: The decision to issue the boil water notice and the political fallout at the city utility illuminate the pitfalls of precautionary measures when it comes to a resource we all use daily.

What to watch: Tuesday's 9am meeting is one of several scheduled after Mayor Pro-Tem Alison Alter called for an external audit of Austin Water.

  • Thursday at 10am: Regular Meeting of the Austin City Council and consideration of MPT's Audit Resolution.
  • Feb. 23 at 1:30pm.: Austin Water Oversight Committee meeting.

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