Allow Businesses to Provide Water Coolers in Austin Parks
  • Petitioned City of Austin, Texas

This petition was delivered to:

City of Austin, Texas
Mayor of Austin
Lee Leffingwell

Allow Businesses to Provide Water Coolers in Austin Parks

    1. Petition by

      Joel Stanford

      Austin, United States

December 2012


Joel Stanford: Good job everyone! It looks like the city has folded on this issue and will cover the costs of the permits! The City of Austin has folded its cards. The permits will still be required, but the fees will apparently be absorbed by the city. This is a fantastic victory for everyone who uses the trails and relies on the cool, refreshing water.



Recently the City of Austin, TX informed Rogue Running/Rogue Equipment, RunTex, and other businesses that they could no longer place water in coolers for public consumption without an expensive permit. Rather than bowing to common sense and allowing the coolers to stay in place (they have been there for years), the city is trying to extract fees from the same businesses who are providing this water free of charge and freshly stocked and chilled. Water fountains along the lake are notorious for being out of service, and these coolers quench the thirsts of pedestrians and athletes alike throughout the year. They are vital and an institutional part of the lake.

This petition seeks to rectify that, and will be delivered to Mayor Lee Leffingwell who is urged to keep his bureaucrats at bay and give his blessing to the continued presence of these incredibly beneficial water coolers.

Parks and Recreation has vaguely stated that the coolers could pose a health hazard, and indeed there have been extremely rare instances of vandalism or tampering, but the benefits of these far outweigh any risks.  They are publicly located, and in constant view of people.  The logic here does not hold up.  If the city is worried about liability, then perhaps a disclaimer sign on a stick is necessary. 

Meanwhile:  E-mail your council members!  Direct contact is vastly more effective than any online petition.  Light them up, even with a short message, and perhaps Sara Hensley of PARD will fold when pressured by elected officials.

Recent signatures


    1. Victory.

      Joel Stanford
      Petition Organizer

      Apparently the city is "covering" the permit fees. Their definition of water as a beverage is shaky and a bit silly (are their fountains beverage dispensers?), but the pressure appears to have worked.

      Austin parks officials say they'll work with running stores to...

      American-Statesman Staff Runners looking for a swig of water from jugs along the trail around Lady Bird Lake have been out of luck in recent weeks after the city determined that the coolers need health department approval. The news has rankled trail users used to enjoying the free chilled water.

    2. City Backing Off on Permit Fees?

      Joel Stanford
      Petition Organizer
      Will the fees be waved? The story isn't clear. However, with an optimistic reading It sounds like Sara Hensley has folded on this and that she indicated the fees would not be present. It could be that we have victory on this, folks!

      Water Under the Bridge: Coolers Returning to Hike & Bike Trail

      The coolers are coming back in the new year. A report this morning that the popular water coolers on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail had been

    3. Reached 2,000 signatures
    4. Reached 500 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Ben Siddons AUSTIN, TX
      • over 1 year ago

      B/c it makes sense, free is good and people that run need water...

    • Terrance Truxillo AUSTIN, TX
      • over 1 year ago

      I use the hike and bike trail daily, commuting on bike to work, downtown and for exercise. It's always been nice to stop when I'm low on water to get hydrated. Please let the coolers return.

      If they're such a health concern give us some cases where you think they are to blame.

    • darshana gore AUSTIN, TX
      • over 1 year ago

      These businesses are supporting local community by participating in their activities via providing free water. If you start charging them for suppliying water, eventually they will stop. How will you have anyone come volunteer or support local community then?

    • Doug Opalka AUSTIN, TX
      • over 1 year ago

      The water coolers are an integral part of our trail system, provided for years free of charge by local businesses RunTex and Rogue. They are an essential part of hydration for athletes who rely on them due to the inconsistent and unreliable service from the water fountains. Please use common sense and do not require these business to acquire expensive permits to provide this free service to the residents of the City of Austin who use the trail so frequently.

    • Scott Brown AUSTIN, TX
      • over 1 year ago

      Not having the coolers out is not healthy. We live in a hot, humid climate. Let people make their own choice about using them or not. A city requirement for permit is an overreaching money grab backed by a reason that is mind numbing.


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