‘Controversial’ Austin water plant opens

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After decades of planning, a new water treatment plan is now open.

“It’s been a controversial, obviously a controversial thing since 1984. We’re glad to have it done,” said Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell.

If you pay for Austin water, you are helping to pay for the more than $500 million Water Treatment Plant 4 in the hills of West Austin, near RM 620 and 2222.

Supporters say the plant will help Austin Water keep up with the city’s growth, it will make the water system more efficient, and provide a backup if something happens to another plant.

“When the drought is over we’re going to get back on cycle and we will need this plant,” said Leffingwell.

Critics like the director of Environment Texas, Luke Metzger, takes issue with the price tag of the project and its impact on your water rates. That’s an increase supporters contend exists, but is small.

Metzger also says the fact that Austin conserving water today is proving his group’s stance all along.

“Building a new treatment plant isn’t going to extend our water supply,” said Metzger. “If the lake is low, we don’t have enough water to treat, it’s not going to do us any good.”

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