Water Treatment Plant No. 4

Client Information:

Larry Laws
MWH Constructors
6800 RR 620 N
Austin, TX 78732


Fall 2009 – December 2014


Scope of Work: 

Public Involvement and Community Outreach, Strategy and Issues Management, Website Development.


For more than 25 years, due to significant environmental and community concerns, the City of Austin debated implementing one of the largest, multi-faceted public infrastructure projects in its history, Water Treatment Plant No. 4 (WTP4). In 2009, Austin City Council finally ended the debate by voting to move forward with the project to address the growing need for clean water for the city’s rapidly increasing population and to relieve the city’s aging water infrastructure.

MWH Constructors, the Construction Manager at risk for WTP4, hired Rifeline in late 2009 in order to mitigate resistance and increase community input prior to the beginning of construction and tackle community concerns that had exploded onto the front pages of Austin’s newspapers.

Rifeline was tasked with coordinating communication during the construction of WTP4, building meaningful relationships between MWH and elected officials, neighbors and business owners, as well as informing the general public about the importance of the new plant and getting stakeholders involved in the process. Additionally, because MWH planned to maximize the use of local subcontractors, a website was developed to help post current opportunities, bid packages, past awards and more.  

The team led a targeted public involvement and outreach strategy to aid the City of Austin in addressing concerns from the environmental community and surrounding neighborhoods by facilitating neighborhood agreements and working with community groups. Efforts began with the identification of key issues, stakeholders and concerns, followed by the development of key messages.

As soon as WTP4 was green lighted, Rifeline worked with neighbors and area stakeholders at seven different future construction sites including the main plant at RR 2222 and RM 620, at Keller Marina where equipment for construction of the intake would be staged, the neighborhoods near the Oasis restaurant on Lake Travis where the intake structure would be built, at three shaft sites that would be excavated to aid in construction of the Jollyville Transmission Main – Four Points, Spicewood Springs at Old Lampasas Road and US 183 at Pond Springs Road, and along Bullick Hollow Road where an electrical conduit bank would be installed. 

Throughout the duration of the project, the team continuously communicated construction activities and timelines to the various neighbors and stakeholder groups based on their unique needs. Rifeline served as the first line of communication with the public on behalf of the project team, managed the telephone hotline and project email account, developed newsletters, organized and facilitated meetings with individuals and small groups, hosted Open House meetings and other events, and worked with neighbors to resolve any issues that arose.

Rifeline’s work with MWH Constructors and the Austin Water Utility for WTP4 was completed in December 2014.