LCRA increases enforcement on illegal diversions
On July 28, 2014, LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson announced that LCRA is cracking down on people who take water from the Highland Lakes or lower Colorado River without a valid contract. LCRA asks anyone who spots a possible violation to report it to LCRA.
“LCRA is committed to protecting the water supply for this region,” Wilson said. “People are required to have a contract and pay for water they take from the lakes. It’s only fair that everyone who takes water from the lakes or the river plays by the same rules. It’s the right thing to do, it’s the fair thing to do, and it’s the law.”
Read the news release.
Residential property owners can obtain a three-year contract from LCRA to pump water from one of the Highland Lakes. The following documents provide more information on applying for a contract.
Once-per-week watering enforced during extreme drought
Domestic use and temporary irrigation customers are now on a
once-per-week watering schedule because of the extreme drought in this region. The LCRA Board of Directors approved this temporary amendment to LCRA's Drought Contingency Plan on Feb. 19. This watering schedule will remain in effect until combined storage in lakes Travis and Buchanan increases to more than 1.1 million acre-feet or LCRA resumes supplying water to customers in the Gulf Coast, Lakeside or Pierce Ranch irrigation areas.
This restriction does not apply to watering with drip irrigation or soaker hoses that have working on/off timers, watering with a hand-held hose that has a shut-off nozzle, or watering with a faucet-filled bucket that holds no more than five gallons. LCRA staff implemented enforcement measures to help ensure the watering schedule is being followed. Violators will be subject to surcharges. Here are
answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about once-per-week watering.
Domestic use watering schedule
Domestic use customers may water on the following days:
- Addresses ending in odd numbers: Saturdays
- Addresses ending in even numbers: Sundays
Hours: Midnight to 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. to midnight
firstname.lastname@example.org to report any suspected violations.
Stay Informed About the Drought
We are in a serious drought. Please follow your watering schedule and
stay informed about the drought.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are moving in or out, need a new sticker to identify the water intake for your property, or currently cannot access water from lakes Buchanan or Travis, please email information to
Why is LCRA managing this program?
The Highland Lakes - Buchanan, Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls, Travis and Austin - are an important source of water for cities, industry, agriculture and the environment throughout the basin. As a steward of this valuable but finite resource, LCRA has the responsibility to carefully conserve, manage and account for the use of water from the lakes. This becomes increasingly important during drought. Lakeside residents wishing to take water from the Highland Lakes or Austin's Lady Bird Lake must first have a contract with LCRA or have other legal authorization to take water from the lakes under state law.
How much does water cost under an LCRA domestic use contract?
The current annual rate for domestic water is $151 per acre-foot of water (325,851 gallons) and is based on the current firm raw water rate typically charged to municipal and industrial customers. The contracts are three years and are subject to renewal. The minimum domestic use contract is for three-quarters of an acre-foot at a cost of $113.25. This amount of water is sufficient to meet the landscape watering needs of a house on a lot up to a half-acre. There is no application fee or meter requirement. The LCRA Board of Directors on June 18, 2014, approved a new one-year "drought rate" for firm water customers for 2015. Firm customers, including many cities in Central Texas and domestic use customers, will pay the new rate of $175 per acre-foot beginning with the January 2015 billing cycle.
Isn't the amount of water being used for domestic use insignificant compared to the amount used for other purposes?
LCRA estimates that an average of 5,000 acre-feet per year is being pumped from the Highland Lakes by lakeside residents – most of it for lawn watering. Based on population and development projections, this use is expected to increase to more than 10,000 acre-feet per year by 2050. That is enough water to supply some communities.
How do I know whether I have an existing right to take water from the lakes under state law without a need for a contract with LCRA?
No one has the right to take water that has been stored in the Highland Lakes without a contract with LCRA. Only a person with an old "riparian" water right, a domestic and livestock exemption or a water right issued by the state of Texas could possibly take water from the Colorado River absent a contract with LCRA.
I have been pumping water for years for free. Why should I have to pay?
Most customers are already doing their part to protect this valuable natural resource that is shared by all in the lower Colorado River basin. It is only fair that all water customers pay their share of the costs for maintaining the dams, water quality and water conservation programs, and water supply planning.