LCRA updating Water Management Plan for Highland Lakes

Plan determines how water is allocated during times of drought

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

LCRA is in the process of updating the most recent plan, which was approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in 2010.

​LCRA submitted an application to amend the current plan in 2012. In May 2014, TCEQ recommended LCRA consider further changes to its 2012 application.

In August 2014, the LCRA Board of Directors adopted a framework for revising the plan based on TCEQ’s recommendations. After a series of meetings with stakeholders representing interests throughout the basin, the LCRA Board accepted staff-proposed revisions on Sept. 17, 2014. LCRA submitted an amended and restated application​ to TCEQ on Oct. 31, 2014.

The 2014 application will allow LCRA to adapt its operations more quickly as drought conditions change. A primary goal of the revisions is to maintain combined storage in lakes Travis and Buchanan above 600,000 acre-feet through a repeat of historic hydrology. The revisions also establish three sets of operating conditions used to determine the amount of interruptible water available for agriculture and environmental flows.

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 and 2010. TCEQ approved the current version of the Water Management Plan on Jan. 27, 2010.

The Water Management Plan governs LCRA's operation of the Highland Lakes to meet the needs of major water 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 that firm water supplies will be available for the basic needs of cities, businesses and industries. The plan also prescribes how LCRA must provide water from the lakes to help meet the environmental needs of the lower Colorado River and Matagorda Bay at various trigger points.

Almost immediately after TCEQ approved the Water Management in 2010, LCRA began the process of updating it.

  • In 2010, LCRA brought together a diverse group of people representing various interests that depend on Highland Lakes water. This advisory committee included members representing cities, industry, lake area businesses and residents, agriculture and the environment. See the advisory committee meetings archives.
  • On May 31, 2012, LCRA submitted an updated plan and technical in​formation to TCEQ to address questions from the state agency.
  • In August 2012, TCEQ requested more information from LCRA, and LCRA responded on Sept. 10, 2012.
  • In November 2012, TCEQ sent a draft final order to LCRA for review and comment. LCRA commented on the draft final order on March 15, 2013.
  • In June 2013, TCEQ announced plans to conduct further review of the proposed plan due to the ongoing severe drought conditions.
  • TCEQ held a public hearing for stakeholder input on June 26, 2013.
  • In May 2014, the TCEQ executive director issued a draft report that included further recommended changes to the proposed plan. Read TCEQ’s summary of the executive director's draft report.
  • In August 2014, the LCRA Board of Directors adopted a framework for the proposed plan based on TCEQ’s recommended changes. The Board also directed staff to seek input from stakeholders.
  • In September 2014, the LCRA Board unanimously approved a proposal for revising its application to amend the Water Management Plan. Read the agenda item.
  • In October 2014, LCRA submitted an amended and restated application to TCEQ for action.
  • In May 2015, the LCRA Board adopted a revised Firm Customer Drought Contingency Plan. On May 21, 2015, LCRA filed an addendum to incorporate the plan into LCRA's pending Water Management Plan application.

Water Management Plan

2014 Water Management Plan application
2012 Water Management Plan application
2010 Water Management Plan​​

Watch the discussion and vote on changes to the Water Management Plan at the Sept. 17, 2014, meeting of the LCRA Board of Directors.

Watch the discussion and
​​staff pre​sentation on changes to the Water Management Plan at the Sept. 17, 2014, meeting of the LCRA Water Operations Committee.​

Emergency drought relief



Drought Contingency Plan

LCRA's Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) can be found in Chapter 4 of LCRA's Water Management Plan (WMP).


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