Austin Water Policy on Alternative Compliance for Vegetable Gardening
This is very exciting news! As you all know, we are in a serious drought here in central Texas, and currently under Stage 2 water use restrictions (and possibly moving into Stage 3 restrictions). Many of you have raised the concern that there should be water use exemptions for those growing food… and the City of Austin has responded to your concerns! Read more below about the new policy created for food gardening:
To support City sustainability initiatives and community-wide efforts to increase local food production, Austin Water has developed alternative restrictions for individuals using water to support food-producing plants in outdoor gardens. To receive a permit for alternative compliance, a water account holder must return the following form and adhere to the restrictions outlined (the form can be found here).
Approved alternative compliance permits will allow the account holder to water areas of food production at any day or time with drip systems or soaker hoses, Tuesday through Sunday in the morning and/or evening with a hose-end sprinkler, or twice per week in the morning and/or evening with an in-ground spray system. In all cases, alternative compliance permits require that water usage be reduced by 20% from a comparable month. This reduction meets the intent of Stage 2 or 3 water use restrictions, while allowing gardeners more flexibility to meet the needs of their plants by spreading out water application over multiple days.
Alternative compliance permits are intended for gardens producing food for retail sale, those used by many people as part of a community garden, and for individual gardens that provide a reasonable portion of household food consumption when in season. They are not intended for herb gardens, for solitary vegetable plants within a landscape garden, or fruit trees other than those that are part of urban farms and intended for retail production.