LCRA returns to Stage 1 of its drought response as lake levels increase

Water conservation remains vitally important as we head into summer

AUSTIN, Texas – As the region’s water supplies continue to increase from recent rains, the Lower Colorado River Authority on Monday moved from Stage 2 to Stage 1 of its drought response.

Combined storage in the region’s two water supply reservoirs, lakes Buchanan and Travis, has increased to more than 1.11 million acre-feet, or about 56% of capacity, up from about 846,000 acre-feet, or 42% of capacity, on May 1.

“These rains were welcome and it’s good to see our water supply reservoirs at higher levels, but the reservoirs are still stressed from years of drought,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water. “With summer right around the corner, we all need to continue using water wisely and cutting back on discretionary water use.”

Under LCRA’s Drought Contingency Plan for Firm Water Customers, LCRA moves from Stage 2 to Stage 1 when combined storage in the water supply lakes reaches 1.1 million acre-feet. Under Stage 1, LCRA requests its water customers reduce water use by 10% and requests its firm water customers – primarily cities, utilities and industries – implement mandatory restrictions to curtail water use.

In Stage 1, LCRA customers with domestic use contracts to draw water directly from the Highland Lakes may water outdoors up to twice a week on designated days. Under Stage 2 conditions, once-a-week outdoor watering restrictions were in place.

LCRA firm water customers develop and implement their own drought contingency plans that must be at least as restrictive as LCRA’s. Residential and commercial users should check with their water providers to determine their local watering restrictions.

“We encourage everyone to cut back water use when possible,” Hofmann said. “We’re heading into another hot, dry summer when the amount of water in lakes Buchanan and Travis typically drops because of increased water use and evaporation.”

He said water consumption typically increases during the hot summer months, with as much as 70% of water used at homes being used outdoors on yards and landscapes.

“We can’t control how much it rains or where it rains,” Hofmann said. “The only thing we can control is how much water we use, and each of us has a say in that. We especially can control how much water we put on our yards.”

There are specific criteria for when LCRA will exit Stage 1 of its drought response. If conditions worsen and combined storage drops to 900,000 acre-feet, or about 45% of capacity, LCRA would return to Stage 2.

If drought conditions improve and combined storage reaches 1.2 million acre-feet, or about 60% of capacity, LCRA would exit Stage 1 drought response for firm customers.

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About LCRA

The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations.

Contact Info

Clara Tuma, Public Information Officer
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After hours: 512-944-6719