Central Texas Water Coalition

This is serious.

It affects YOU.

The Central Texas Water Coalition advocates for:

  • Responsible water management policies that minimize fire risks, risks to the drinking water supply and adverse economic impacts that result from very low lake levels
  • Equitable pricing for water to encourage conservation by all
  • Routine updating of hydrology and climatology studies utilized in LCRA’s Water Management Plan and used in water management decisions

Support the CTWC’s work to advocate for responsible water management policies, equitable pricing and greater conservation by all.

We need your support to ensure our activities can continue. Please consider donating today to CTWC so that we can keep working for you and our lakes.

January 3, 2022 — Action Alert:
Send a Message to the LCRA on Water Rates by January 7th.

Stop Policies That Encourage Waste 
We can’t change the past. But we can and must use its lessons to prepare for the future. We need your help to send a message to LCRA that it’s time to update its water pricing and management policies to prepare for the future. The deadline for public comments is Jan. 7, so send your thoughts now.

Rates LCRA charges downstream irrigators don’t cover the cost of the actual water they use to flood rice fields for weed control. As we prepare for an influx of up to 1 million more people in Central Texas by 2030, LCRA must fix the pricing disparity to encourage smart use, not waste. We need your help to send a message to LCRA. 
 
Click here to add your comments on an upcoming vote by LCRA on these rates. 
Ask LCRA to:
1) Not approve interruptible customer contracts that do not recover LCRA’s full costs of the water requested.
2) Price water to Gulf Coast irrigators at rates that encourage conservation, not waste.
3) Use the “rate shock” fund to encourage more modern and efficient irrigation methods, not to reduce rates for downstream irrigators.


Let’s Protect the Water in the Lakes, Not Give It Away
On Jan. 19, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) will vote to increase rates by $3 per acre-foot for irrigators in the Gulf Coast region who purchase water from the Highland Lakes. An acre-foot is about the size of a football field, and the water these consumers buy is used to flood rice fields for weed control. The price will increase from $66 to $69 per acre-foot — an increase of 4%. That increase is protected from going above 5% annually thanks to a “rate shock” fund LCRA created to benefit downstream irrigators just months ago without any public input or comment. 

According to LCRA, it will cost $69 per acre-foot just to deliver the water to the downstream irrigators, who could have requested as much as 95 billion gallons of water during 2021. That means they’re essentially paying nothing for the actual water, encouraging waste and not conservation. 

Firm users, a term used to describe residential and business suppliers like municipalities we purchase water from, had their rates increased last month from $145 to $155 per acre-foot — an increase of 7%. There was no “rate shock” fund for firm users. 

Where Will the Water Come From?
Central Texas will likely add up to a million more residents by 2030, and a common question asked is: Where will the water for those households come from? That concern is compounded as changing weather patterns and other factors are contributing to declining inflows into the lakes that serve as our primary source of water. 
Many of us remember the drought of 2008 – 2015 like it was yesterday. In 2013, Lakes Buchanan and Travis’ water levels plummeted to just 38% of capacity. Many worried about their drinking water drying up. Lake businesses went bankrupt, and restaurants closed. The recreational industry ground to a halt. Jobs disappeared. Even worse, we worried about our drinking water supply drying up.
 
Stop Policies That Encourage Waste 
We can’t change the past. But we can and must use its lessons to prepare for the future. We need your help to send a message to LCRA that it’s time to update its water pricing and management policies to prepare for the future.

Click here to add your thoughts to the public comments on the irrigator pricing issue that LCRA will vote on soon. 
The deadline for public comments is Jan. 7, so send your thoughts now.  
Ask LCRA to:
1) Not approve interruptible customer contracts that do not recover LCRA’s full costs of the water requested.
2) Price water to Gulf Coast irrigators at rates that encourage conservation, not waste.
3) Use the “rate shock” fund to encourage more modern and efficient irrigation methods, not to reduce rates for downstream irrigators.



Help us amplify the voices of those who want to protect the water in the lakes, not give it away.

Support the CTWC’s work to advocate for responsible water management policies, equitable pricing and greater conservation by all.

We need your support to ensure our activities can continue. Please consider donating today to CTWC so that we can keep working for you and our lakes.

History on LCRA’s Amended Water Management Plan

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has approved an updated Water Management Plan that LCRA submitted in 2019 which governs how the LCRA manages lakes Buchanan and Travis.
The revised plan reduces the maximum amount of “interruptible” stored water available for most downstream agricultural use to 178,000 acre-feet for the first growing season and an additional 66,000 acre-feet for the second season. The prior plan limited availability to 202,000 acre-feet for first crop and 76,500 acre-feet for second crop. (One acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons.)

The updated plan keeps the same general framework of the 2015 plan, which created three sets of drought conditions – normal, less severe drought and extraordinary drought – that determine how much water from lakes Buchanan and Travis is available for interruptible customers in the downstream agricultural operations.

The revised plan also:

  • Maintains storage in lakes Travis and Buchanan above 600,000 acre-feet through a repeat of the worst drought this region has seen.
  • Includes the latest available hydrology.
  • Uses projected water demands through 2025.
  • Continues to require releases from the lakes to help meet specific flow conditions in the river downstream of Austin and for the health of Matagorda Bay.
  • For the first time, sets a maximum limit on the amount of stored water that can be released from the lakes for interruptible customers. The 2015 plan included limits on the amount of water that can be diverted. The 2020 plan updates those limits, and also includes a new limit on the amount that can be released from the lakes for interruptible users. This accounts for water that may be lost in transit along the more than 180 river miles from the Highland Lakes downstream to Colorado, Wharton and Matagorda counties, and water that is ordered but not needed by the time it arrives several days later.

CTWC participated in the public process to update LCRA’s 2015 Water Management Plan (WMP) by attending LCRA sponsored meetings and we encouraged LCRA to make more conservative and protective policies regarding the water supply that we all depend on. Much time and effort was made to compose our comments, You can see all of CTWC’s comments throughout the process by going to the “Resources” link under LCRA.

The latest hydrological data and studies tell us that much more protection is needed to protect these precious water supplies. CTWC continues to push for the most recent data and the best science to be used to determine how much interruptible water can be released from Lakes Buchanan and Travis for downstream customers.

It is important to incorporate methods to account for changing conditions, including the high population growth and the alarmingly low inflows to the Lakes that have been recorded in recent years. Adequate water supplies must be maintained in the upper basin.

Weather experts predict more drought and we cannot assume that it will rain and everything will be OK.

We are thankful that the Texas Water Development Board is conducting studies to evaluate the rainfall-runoff trends in the upper basin. This must be understood so that accurate planning can be done in all water management plans to insure future water supplies. CTWC is committed to protecting our future through continued advocacy for responsible water management and conservation policies in this New Normal.

We need your support
to ensure our activities can continue.

Please consider donating today to CTWC
so that we can keep working for you and our lakes.