The Watershed Protection Department is mostly funded by the drainage charge on utility bills. The drainage charge pays for programs and projects to help with flooding, erosion, and water pollution.

Drainage Charge

The drainage charge is customized for each property based on the amount and percent of impervious cover. Impervious cover includes roofs, driveways, parking lots, sheds, and other surfaces that cause water to run off into our drainage system.

In general, the less impervious cover you have, the lower your drainage charge will be. That’s because impervious cover contributes to drainage problems. If you collect rainwater on your property, you may be eligible for a discount.

Find out more about the drainage charge and check your impervious cover

What is The Drainage Charge For?

The drainage charge pays for many services and programs, including:

  • Maintaining Austin’s storm drain system
  • Clearing debris from culverts, bridges and Lady Bird Lake
  • Monitoring and closing flooded roads
  • Monitoring water quality in Austin’s creeks
  • Cleaning up pollution spills
  • Completing projects to help with flooding, erosion and water pollution
  • Regulating development to reduce any impact on the drainage system

Report a Problem

  • Call 3-1-1 to report a drainage problem
  • Call 512-494-9400 for billing questions
  • To report potential pollution, please call our 24-hour pollution hotline at 512-974-2550


Watershed Protection

The Watershed Protection Department protects lives, property and the environment of our community by reducing the impact of flooding, erosion, and water pollution. Austin is particularly vulnerable to these problems due to our torrential downpours and rocky landscape.

City of Austin Watershed Protection logo


Date last reviewed or modified: 9/9/20