Water Management Plan for the Highland Lakes

Plan determines how water is allocated

LCRA manages lakes Travis and Buchanan under a state-approved Water Management Plan.

The plan governs LCRA's operation of the Highland Lakes to supply water to users throughout the lower Colorado River basin.

During drought, the plan requires the curtailment or cutback of interruptible stored water from the Highland Lakes for downstream agriculture so firm water supplies will be available for the basic needs of cities, businesses and industries. The plan also requires LCRA to provide water from the lakes to help meet the environmental needs of the lower Colorado River and Matagorda Bay.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) approved the current plan in November 2015.

The 2015 Water Management Plan allows LCRA to more quickly adapt its operations as water supply conditions change. The plan establishes three sets of operating conditions to determine the availability of interruptible stored water, which is primarily used by agricultural customers in Colorado, Wharton and Matagorda counties. It also sets two dates – March 1 and July 1 – for determining the amount of interruptible stored water available for first and second crop.

2015 Water Management Plan


Water Management Plan background

LCRA's Water Management Plan is the only one of its kind in the state. It is required by a 1988 court order that determined water rights for the Highland Lakes and the lower Colorado River basin. The state approved the first Water Management Plan in 1989. Updates were approved in 1991, 1992, 1999, 2010 and 2015.

Read the fact sheet on Highland Lakes water releases for agricultural irrigation in 2017. ​​