A lot of the world is chronically short of water, but sometimes there is a problem with having too much. September, 2018 was the wettest September on record in Texas, and heavy rains last week have led to catastrophic flooding in the central part of the state. Such heavy rainfall has led to much more debris, silt, and mud in the water than usual, which has slowed down output from water treatment centers. According to National Public Radio, the water flowing into aquifers looks like chocolate milk. Residents of Austin have been told to boil tap water for at least 3 minutes to be sure it is safe to drink and to use less. In Austin, the water supply comes from the Colorado River and is stored in aquifers, then cleaned in water treatment plants before flowing to homes and businesses.

Because of the extra filtration needed, Austin is using more water than is being released from treatment plants. Officials in the city are urging residents to use at least 15% less water to allow the plants to catch up. As reported on CNN, “‘Immediate action is needed to avoid running out of water,’ Austin leaders said Monday in a statement. ‘Emergency conservation now required.’”

NPR reports that with cooperative weather, the situation could improve in a few days. If heavy rainfall continues, though, the current course of events will continue until the rains stop.

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