In a surprise turn of events, the Austin Holiday Committee (AHC) has voted to ban Christmas lights across the city of Austin this year citing, “critically low water supplies available for fighting preventable fires.” The committee declared that Christmas lights, “increase the risk of of a structure catching fire tenfold.” The committee plans to bring their decision to the Austin City Council for full consideration and implementation at the November meeting.
The Examiner spoke to Committee member Harriet Butts. Butts shared that this is a movement that could be seen across a majority of Texas in the future if the drought situation doesn’t improve. “Austin is not alone in having a water shortage. This drought has affected a large portion of our state. We hope that being the state capital, we can take the lead on this state banning Christmas lights. We just can’t waste drinking water on fighting fires that could be prevented.”
The 7 member committee passed the measure in a 5-2 vote. The committee is also considering placing a ban on the sale of all live Christmas trees and fruitcakes. “Live Christmas trees further increase the risk of fires, and fruitcakes have done nothing but fill up our landfill, make us sick at our stomach and pollute our streets for years.”
Other items on the agenda for discussion at the next AHC meeting will be a vote on whether or not to allow The University of Texas to continue watering its athletic fields and filling its natatorium. A vote may also happen on whether or not to use the existing water in the natatorium as an alternate water source.
Austin’s two primary water sources, Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are currently at 33.1% and 36% capacity. Inflows have been far below average for the past several years, and without significant rainfall soon, Austinites will have to continue making sacrifices.
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