Texas

Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Lance Armstrong is Off the Hook for Doping. But is He Still Thirsty?

Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Armstrong is one of the top users of water in Austin.

As you’ve probably heard by now, federal prosecutors have dropped charges of doping against champion cyclist and Austinite Lance Armstrong.

While he’s probably breathing a big sigh of relief today, is he also taking a big gulp of water?

In October, we reported that Lance Armstrong is one of the top ten residential users of water in town. He used around 1.3 million gallons in the last year, according to data from Austin Water. (Coincidentally, that’s the same amount a water hauler trucked out of now-dry Spicewood Beach.)

It wasn’t the first time the cyclist had been caught using too much water. In 2008, The New York Times reported that he had used 330,000 gallons of water in one month — a month he hadn’t even been home at his three acre, 14,475 square foot estate. “I’m a little shocked,” he told the paper at the time. “There’s no justification for that much water. I need to fix this.”

But years later, he’s still near the top of the list of water users in the city.

The data was released after local environmentalist Paul Robbins made an open records request. In some cases, customers (like Armstrong) redacted their address and exact water use, but their rank on the list is public. Addresses for those who had them redacted were located through voter registration records.

Here’s a map of the top 25 water users in Austin, as of October 2011:

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