The lower basin reservoir will be about twice the size of this reservoir in Florida.
Engineering work is underway on the first new reservoir to be built in the lower Colorado River basin in decades. LCRA is moving forward with plans to build the new reservoir to relieve some of the pressure on the Highland Lakes, improve agricultural water reliability and efficiency and help meet LCRA’s historic goal of adding 100,000 acre-feet a year to the region’s water supply by 2017.
The embankment of the new reservoir will be similar to this reservoir in Ohio. The sides will be about 40 feet tall.
The new reservoir in Wharton County will capture water downstream and hold it for beneficial use by downstream industrial and agricultural customers. This is the first project that will allow LCRA to capture and store significant amounts of water downstream that can be used by multiple customers.
The reservoir will be able to hold about 40,000 acre-feet, but could be filled and used multiple times over the course of a year, making it capable of adding 90,000 acre-feet of firm water to the region’s supply. Firm water is water that can be counted on during a repeat of the conditions during the worst drought in the region’s history, the decade-long drought from 1947 to 1957. The preliminary cost estimate for the reservoir in Wharton County is $214.9 million.
Bastrop Groundwater Project
The Bastrop County Groundwater Project will add another 10,000 acre-feet to the water supply by allowing LCRA to pump up to 10,000 acre-feet of water a year under certain conditions at the Lost Pines Power Park, property LCRA owns in Bastrop County. The Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District approved the groundwater project and agreed to allow LCRA to take 10,000 acre-feet a year during drought conditions and 5,000 acre-feet a year during other years.
Together, the two projects will add 100,000 acre-feet a year to the region’s water supply by 2017.
Key Project Milestones
- LCRA Board sets goal of adding 100,000 acre-feet to water supply: January 2012
- LCRA Board of Directors authorizes Lower Basin Reservoir Project : August 2012
- LCRA Board approves $18 million for Phase 1 of the project: January 2013
- LCRA Board selects design engineer: April 2013
- Land purchased in Wharton County: June 2013
- LCRA Board selects construction manager: September 2013
- LCRA Board scheduled to discuss Phase 2 of the project: December 2013
- LCRA Board scheduled to vote on Phase 2 funding: Early 2014
- Construction start: estimated 2014-2015
- Projected construction completion date: 2017