Central Texas cities are using about 20 percent less water from the Colorado River despite a rapidly growing population. In 2011, city officials began telling residents in Austin and surrounding areas to reduce the amount of water they used. The efforts were seen as relatively mild because most communities were still allowed to water lawns tat least once a week.
New programs also have contributed to the drop in consumption, such as encouraging the planting of drought-tolerant landscapes and free audits of lawn-irrigation systems, and officials say that residents have grown sensitized to drought.
A report indicates that per capita water use by Austin residents dropped from about 170 gallons a day to 130. In the suburb of Cedar Park, per capita use went from 252 gallons a day to 170 gallons.