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Drinking water promised by the city amid a major water outage has arrived in Austin with the city putting a plan in place to get water to vulnerable residents first.

The city of Austin announced Thursday it had ordered one million gallons of water in 16-ounce bottles from six states in the Southeastern U.S. Additionally, the Texas Department of Emergency Management delivered two 18-wheelers full of water from a FEMA site in Fort Worth Friday morning.

The city will distribute the water to the community in a three-step plan to take place throughout this weekend.

  • Phase One, which prioritizes those in most critical need, is already underway. Distribution efforts began Friday afternoon as shipments came in and included delivery to warming centers and shelters, COVID-19 isolation facilities and protection lodges, medical facilities and first-responder locations. The first phase has continued into Friday evening as the city moves into Phase Two.
  • Phase Two targets populations including seniors, home-bound residents and other more vulnerable groups. Distribution will continue into Saturday, with the city teaming up with organizations such as Capital Metro and the Austin Disaster Relief Network to speed up delivery efforts.
  • Phase Three will include distribution to the general public, which will begin on Sunday. Finalized locations will be released Saturday, but the city said their goal is to have a Point of Distribution site in each City Council district as well as important areas throughout Travis County. Each household will be able to take one case of water at the sites, which will operate from sun up to sun down.

Water remains scarce despite the latest efforts, so city officials recommend that those that can buy water do so instead. Local businesses have also opened up their doors to those seeking water with the condition that Austinites take their own container. View a list of places providing water here.

The announcement comes after Austin announced a boil water notice on Wednesday night, an emergency made even more substantial as many households were left without running water. In addition, around 18,000 Austinites were unable to boil water even if they had it as power outage issues persisted through Friday afternoon. According to Austin Energy, around 97% of customers had power restored, and lingering issues were likely due to fallen limbs or downed power lines.

Austin Water has continued to make progress and says that water utility could be restored as early as this weekend. A boil-water notice could persist much longer due to necessary testing that needs to be conducted to ensure safe drinking water.

Both Austin Water and the city of Austin will continue to provide updates on water utility and water distribution sites on their Twitter accounts.


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