As a steward of the lower Colorado River, LCRA protects the water and lands of the lower Colorado basin and educates the public about how the river affects their lives.
LCRA uses the authority given to it by the Texas legislature to protect the Colorado River, its tributaries and other natural resources within the LCRA 10-county district. LCRA's management and staff are directed by LCRA's enabling legislation, bylaws and Board policies.
LCRA has a long-standing commitment to environmental stewardship. LCRA recognizes that our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service must be balanced with our responsibilities to preserve and protect natural resources. LCRA executes its responsibilities and performs its activities in compliance with all applicable environmental laws and regulations.
Responsibly fulfilling our mission
LCRA has regulatory programs to protect water quality in five of the six Highland Lakes, which supply drinking water for nearly 1 million people in Central Texas. (Lake Austin is managed by the City of Austin.) LCRA:
- Sets standards for construction and clearing activities near the lakes to control nonpoint-source water pollution.
- Regulates marina and large boat dock construction and expansion to minimize water pollution and provide for safer navigability and water recreation.
- Is an authorized agent of the state to regulate the construction, installatio n and inspection of on-site sewage facilities.
- As part of its mission to protect water quality, reviews wastewater discharge permit applications within the lower Colorado basin that are filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
LCRA power plants have environmental records that would be the envy of any electric utility. LCRA:
- Has a history of operating all of its generation units in an environmentally responsible manner, generally keeping emissions well below those allowed by law.
- Has, along with Austin Energy, added equipment at their jointly owned Fayette Power Project to cut emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), mercury (Hg) and other pollutants, making FPP one of the cleanest burning coal-fired power plants in the nation. Additionally, LCRA recycles most of FPP's coal generation byproducts, such as coal ash, for use in construction materials, making it one of the top coal byproducts recyclers in the United States.
- LCRA commissioned the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant in Horseshoe Bay, replacing the former power plant with newer, a more efficient natural gas-fired combined-cycle plant. The new Ferguson plant produces 30 to 40 percent fewer emissions per unit of power than the plant it replaced. It uses about 35 percent less fuel per megawatt-hour and about one-third of the water used at a typical steam plant per unit of power.
- LCRA's six dams, once the major source of LCRA's electric generation capacity, now provide hydroelectric power at times of peak demand as water levels allow.
LCRA promotes environmental responsibility through conservation practices, educational programs and community outreach:
- LCRA provides natural science programs for schoolchildren and adults.
- LCRA promotes water and energy conservation through water contracts, wholesale electric customer services and educational programs.
- LCRA's Creekside Conservation Program helps farmers and ranchers reduce soil erosion and keep topsoil from washing into the waterways of the lower Colorado River Basin.
- LCRA minimizes, to the extent practical, the production and discharge of wastes from LCRA activities and operations.
LCRA Transmission Services Corporation is one of several transmission service providers that constructed
Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission lines required to connect wind generation facilities to the load centers throughout the state.
If you have environmental questions or concerns, LCRA wants to hear from you. Contact us at Ask LCRA.
To report water pollution concerns in the lower Colorado River basin, call LCRA's pollution complaint line at 800-776-5272, Ext. 6843.