AUSTIN (KXAN) — Those looking to cool off in the Barton Springs Spillway starting Tuesday will need to leave their alcohol at home. The popular swimming hole is located downstream from the Barton Springs Pool. The ban comes as a result of nearly two dozen thefts and rowdy behavior being reported to the Austin Police Department during the month of July.
“There’s been a lot of people not paying as much attention,” said Sara Hensley, Austin Parks and Recreation Department director. “That’s where people’s purses are being stolen, their wallets are being stolen, some other things are happening that are not conducive to a park environment, so that’s why we are doing it.”
A Parks Department spokesman said this isn’t the first time a ban has been in place concerning alcohol, but Hensley thought it was time again to institute it. There are already two other bans in place, which include no swimming and that dogs must be on-leash at all times. These are two rules many people don’t follow, and in just the past few weeks police have been cracking down.
Last week Austin City Council asked the Parks Department to look into relaxing those rules. Hensley said her department plans to get public feedback on letting dogs off-leash and, for now, won’t enforce the no-swimming ban.
“But we want them to know three things: We can’t control the quality of that water, and the water quality has been up and down. We can’t control the fluctuation of that water, and if we are fortunate enough to get some rain, it really comes over there. And the third is: We are not lifeguarding it,” said Hensley.
Those who allow their dogs to run off-leash could face a fine. Meanwhile, signs are in place letting the public know about the new ban on alcohol.