Water supplies managed by LCRA are divided into firm and interruptible water. Firm water is available even during a severe drought. During water shortages, the supply of interruptible water, which is mostly used for agriculture, is reduced or cut off completely.
LCRA sells water to customers through contracts and resolutions approved by the LCRA Board of Directors.
Water uses under LCRA's water sale contracts include: municipal, irrigation, industrial, agricultural, recreational, domestic use and other beneficial uses authorized by law.
LCRA's rate for firm water used is currently $175 an acre-foot per year. LCRA's rate for firm water reserved for future use is $87.50 an acre-foot per year. The reservation fee helps pay LCRA's cost of storing and managing reserved water supplies. The total amount of water under contract with LCRA sets the Maximum Annual Quantity (MAQ). LCRA's rate for use in excess of the MAQ – known as the firm water inverted block fee – is $350 an acre-foot per year.
Municipal, industrial and other firm uses
In order to secure a firm water supply contract from the Highland Lakes or the lower Colorado River, LCRA requires customers such as municipalities and golf courses to secure a contract.
LCRA offers residential property owners contracts to pump water for domestic use from one of the Highland Lakes through the Highland Lakes Domestic Use Contract Program. The contracts are for three years and up to 10 acre-feet of water per year. These are firm water contracts.
Temporary raw water use:
LCRA offers temporary water contracts for up to 10 acre-feet per year for up to three years. There is a different contract and application process for temporary contracts more than 10 acre-feet per year or longer than three years.
LCRA's rate for 2015 first crop in the Garwood Irrigation Division is $41.30 or $48.95 per acre-foot delivered, depending on the customer's location in the canal system.
Water conservation planning
Water users other than domestic use and temporary customers are required to develop a water conservation plan. LCRA customers also are encouraged to adopt and implement elements of the LCRA Conservation Landscape Best Management Practices.
Municipal retail, wholesale and all non-LCRA irrigation division customers are required to implement a drought contingency plan. LCRA must approve the plans before a water sale contract can be executed.