AUSTIN (CBSNEWS.COM) – Recent flooding has prompted Austin city leaders to say immediate action is needed to keep the city from running out of water.

“It’s imperative that not only you boil water that you’re going to consume, but you do all that you can to reduce the amount of water that you use until we can get through this event,” Austin water director Greg Meszaros said.

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The city’s warning sent crowds of people scrambling to buy bottled water, stripping store shelves clean.

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Health officials say the tap water may contain bacteria and viruses that could make people sick.

Historic flooding has washed mud, silt, and other contaminants into the Colorado River and nearby lakes that supply Austin’s water. In response, the city shut down portions of its three treatment plants for cleaning.

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