The Lower Colorado River Authority has received an $8 million federal partnership award to help construct a new reservoir in Colorado County that will improve agricultural water use efficiency and benefit customers throughout the lower Colorado River basin.
The $8 million award is part of $15.8 million in partnership awards to Texas projects announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Resources Conservation Service. The federal funds are awarded through the USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
“This grant will help us build a second reservoir in the lower basin and further enhance water supplies for our customers,’’ said LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson. “We are grateful for the diverse group of partners working with us on this project, and we are especially grateful for the continued support of Congressman Michael McCaul.”
The Prairie Conservation Reservoir in Eagle Lake will include a 2,000 acre-foot, off-channel reservoir and a possible new pump station on land LCRA owns in Colorado County.
The reservoir will provide water to agricultural customers in the Lakeside Irrigation Division. The reservoir will be filled from river flows during the off-irrigation season to provide initial water to Lakeside canals at the start of each season. During the irrigation season, the reservoir would serve Lakeside water customers, who use water from the lower Colorado River and Highland Lakes. The reservoir has the potential to save up to 20,000 acre-feet of irrigation water ordered from the Highland Lakes in a typical year through increased efficiency.
The reservoir also will enhance habitat for waterfowl and water birds.
The reservoir will be LCRA’s second new downstream reservoir. Construction is underway on a 40,000 acre-foot reservoir in Lane City in Wharton County. That reservoir could add an additional 90,000 acre-feet to the region’s water supply when it becomes operational in 2018.
LCRA and partners are pledging more than $1.35 million of in-kind technical assistance and outreach for the Colorado County reservoir.
Partners in the project are Ducks Unlimited, USA Rice, Texas Rice Producers Legislative Group, Colorado Water Issues Committee, Audubon Texas, National Watershed Coalition, Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, Eagle Lake Chamber of Commerce, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Colorado County; City of Eagle Lake, Colorado County Soil and Water Conservation District, Wharton County Soil and Water Conservation District, Coastal Bend Groundwater Conservation District, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at Beaumont, Texas A&M AgriLife Wintermann Rice Research Station at Eagle Lake and Texas A&M Institute of Renewable Natural Resource.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; ensuring a clean, reliable water supply; and offering access to nature at more than 40 parks, recreation areas and river access sites along the Texas Colorado River, from the Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934.