WCID No. 17 explains $500 fines and shutoffs for water violations; One customer shares his experience  


Some local residents had their water turned off this week and were fined $500 by Travis County Water Control Improvement District No. 17 for being in violation of Stage 2 Water Restrictions. 

WCID No. 17 General Manager Jason Homan confirmed that the district has been cracking down.

As part of Stage 2 Water Restrictions, WCID No. 17 issued fines to several hundred customers for violations as well as water shutoff work orders for 232 accounts, the district shared on September 12. Of those 232 accounts: 90 were in Steiner Ranch, Comanche Trail or River Ridge communities.

Jeremy Jungbauer received a notice and said he was in shock.  

“I received a notice back in July for a $200 fine but when I left a message back then, I didn’t receive a call back per their 72 hour notice then they auto debited the fine since I have auto pay set up.  No explanation as to why I was being fined,” shared Jungbauer, a Steiner Ranch resident and a director on the HOA board. 

For the $500 fine this week, he said, there was no prior notice or even a 24 hour grace period to get things in order. There was a number to call but when he tried that, the voicemail box stated it’s full.

“So you have to drive up there and overwhelm their staff even more as there was a line out the door (Monday, September 11),” Jungbauer said. 

When he got to the bottom of his issue, he found out he was watering on the wrong two days.  

“I was watering on Monday and Thursday instead of Wednesday and Saturday.  Easy mistake, no excess watering, no watering on 3+ days, just the wrong two days. Using the same amount of water if I watered on Wednesday and Saturday,” Jungbauer said. 

Even though WCID No. 17 waived the $200 July fine, the district could not waive Jungbauer’s $500 fine from this week.

“For some reason, they couldn’t understand the concept of still watering for two days only, which is what I was doing,” Jungbauer said. 

A friend of his walked into WCID No. 17 after him and had to pay the full $500 fine and then later on Monday received an email saying WCID No. 17 was in error for something and refunded him $250.

“The whole operation seems flawed,” Jungbauer said.

Jason Homan, general manager
WCID No. 17

According to Homan, the district violation program starts off with a warning email to help the customer understand their watering schedule and bring them into compliance, the district policy then includes follow-up email notifications with escalating fines for noncompliance. 

This process is in compliance with state law and WCID No. 17’s service rules and policies and has included notice of the possibility that service may be discontinued upon failure to comply with usage restrictions in each of the previous violation notices sent to violating customers.

“We never enjoy having to take these steps but at the end of the day we here at WCID No.17 are responsible for ensuring a sustainable water supply for all of our customers and we must enforce our conservation restrictions,” Homan said. 

WCID No. 17 did make a mistake on some accounts this week sharing that regrettably, during this enforcement process, 22 customers did inadvertently have the water shut off despite having recently come into compliance. To those customers the district has issued an apology and a credit on their accounts.

“It is our way of taking responsibility for the error and inconvenience that this has caused,” a WCID No. 17 release shared.

Since July, WCID No. 17 has been working with the community to educate and bring violators into compliance. When the district began compliance enforcement efforts there were more than 1,900 customers identified that together were responsible for nearly 9 million gallons of water waste each week. 

“We have since reduced our violation list to just under 500 violators last week, accounting for nearly 4 million gallons of water waste,” Horman said. “We are grateful to the 98% of our customers who have abided by the restrictions and are practicing conservation. We encourage the remaining 2% of customers who continue to be in violation to abide by the water restrictions so that we may preserve our most precious resource.”