Water Forward Statement of Purpose and Guiding Principles

The Integrated Water Resource Plan (Water Forward) will provide a mid - and long - term evaluation of, and plan for, water supply and demand management options for the City of Austin in a regional water supply context. Through public outreach and coordination of efforts between City departments and Water Forward Task Force, Water Forward offers a holistic and inclusive approach to water resource planning. The plan embraces an innovative and integrated water management process with the goal of ensuring a diversified, sustainable and resilient water future with strong emphasis on water conservation.

For more than 100 years, Austin Water has been committed to providing clean, safe, reliable, high quality, sustainable, and affordable water services to our customers. Austin’s Water Forward Integrated Water Resource Plan supports that enduring commitment for the next 100 years and beyond. The 2018 Water Forward plan was developed using a holistic planning approach that balances multiple objectives such as water reliability, social, environmental, and economic benefits, and ease of implementation. The Guiding Principles of Water Forward, which helped inform these objectives and provided direction throughout the planning process, are shown to the right. The 2018 Water Forward Plan also sought to align with the Austin City Council’s Strategic Outcomes related to Economic Opportunity and Affordability, Safety, Health and Environment, and Government That Works for All of Us.

The recommendation to develop an integrated water resource plan emerged from the historic drought Central Texas endured from 2008-2016. During the drought, the lakes that supply Austin’s drinking water fell to historically low levels. While Austin successfully weathered the drought, the event highlighted the need to increase the sustainability, reliability, and diversity of Austin’s water supplies through an integrated water resource plan. Water Forward addresses these issues by modeling potential climate change effects on Austin’s water supplies and evaluating multiple future scenarios to plan for droughts worse than what we have experienced in the past and a growing population.

2018 Water Forward strategies include both major water supply projects and incremental solutions such as demand management or reuse. As Austin grows, new development can help to implement these demand management and reuse strategies to incrementally meet growing demands. Water supply projects included in the plan will help augment Austin’s access to water during severe droughts and water quality upsets.

The Water Forward Plan is in the process of being implemented using an adaptive management approach, which means that we will be able to make adjustments to respond to changing conditions. Implementation of Water Forward will help Austin Water continue its commitment to providing clean, safe, reliable, and affordable water services to our customers. The Water Forward Annual Report highlights the implementation progress that occurred in the last Fiscal Year.

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