On October 17, 2013, the Austin City Council passed a new Watershed Protection Ordinance, completing Phase 1 of the new ordinance. There's still work to be done on Phase 2, Green Stormwater Infrastructure.

The ordinance improves creek and floodplain protection; prevents unsustainable public expense on drainage systems; simplifies development regulations where possible; and minimizes the impact on the ability to develop land.

The City held a series of stakeholder meetings from August 2011 through July 2014 to obtain public input. A followup series of Green Infrastructure Working Group meetings was conducted from January through June of 2015. This series of meetings was part of the City's land development code rewrite process, CodeNEXT. The result of this input was used to guide City staff recommendations for the watershed protection elements in the Natural and Built Environment Code Prescription. This information was in turn included in the draft CodeNEXT document that was released to the public on January 30, 2017.

Important Documents

*Note: The entire City's Land Development Code can be accessed on line through Municipal Code Online (Municode).

Web Training Series

Critical Environmental Features – an overview of development regulations for properties containing Critical Environmental Features, which include bluffs, canyon rimrock, point recharge features, springs and wetlands.

WPO Redevelopment Exceptions – explains redevelopment exceptions from the Watershed Protection Ordinance and the conditions under which it can be applied. 21 minutes.

Impervious Cover – explains how the City measures and regulates impervious cover, including maximum impervious cover limitations and transfers of development intensity.

Overview of Functional Assessment of Floodplain Health – an overview of the Watershed Protection Ordinance’s floodplain modification rules. 7 minutes

Functional Assessment of Zones 1 & 2 – explains the Functional Assessment for Zones 1 and 2. Zone 1 includes the 100-year floodplain outside of the Critical Water Quality Zone and Zone 2 includes the Critical Water Quality Zone. 16 minutes

Functional Assessment of Zone 3 – explains the Functional Assessment requirements for a project that proposes modification in Zone 3, the active channel. 15 minutes

Erosion Hazard Zone – an overview of what the Erosion Hazard Zone is and why it matters to development.

Erosion Hazard Zone – Where – an overview of rules in the Erosion Hazard Zone and where they apply. Find out how to access the city development viewer to find Erosion Hazard Zones. 4 minutes

Erosion Hazard Zone Level 1 Analysis – aimed at engineers who wish to perform an Erosion Hazard Zone analysis, this training covers the specifics of how an Erosion Hazard Zone is delineated.

Stream Buffers –  an overview of the Critical Water Quality Zone and the Water Quality Transition Zone, and how these buffers differ across watershed and waterway classifications. 18 minutes

Development Allowed within Stream Buffers – explains the types of development allowed in the Critical Water Quality and Water Quality Transition Zones. 13 minutes