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.
Status 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.