LCRA urges cutbacks in outdoor watering as severe drought persists

LCRA asking customers to reduce water use as it enters Stage 2 drought response

Aug. 14, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas – As the extreme, prolonged drought throughout the region continues, the Lower Colorado River Authority has entered Stage 2 of its drought response and is asking its water customers to cut back water use by 10%-20%. “This is a serious drought, and everyone needs to step up and do their part to reduce water use,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water. “We have enough water, but we don’t have enough water to waste.” Over the weekend, combined storage in lakes Travis and Buchanan, the two water supply reservoirs in the Highland Lakes, fell below 900,000 acre-feet, or about 46% of capacity, and reached the lowest combined storage since 2015. LCRA has entered Stage 2 of its drought response and is requesting that all its firm water customers – mostly municipalities, water districts and industries – reduce use by 10%-20% and implement mandatory water restrictions. Each firm water customer will decide what additional conservation measures to enact and how to enforce them. “The easiest and most direct way to reduce discretionary water use is to cut back on watering landscapes,” Hofmann said. “The Environmental Protection Agency reports that up to 70% of all water used during hot summer months is used on lawns and landscaping, and that is not acceptable in our region during a drought of this magnitude.” Hofmann noted that much of Central Texas and the Hill Country remains under a heat dome that has caused daily temperatures to top 100 degrees much of the summer. “It’s been extremely dry for the last year, and we all play a role in helping protect and preserve our water supply,” he said. “The best way we can do that is to stop wasting water, and excessive landscape watering is just that – wasteful. Stopping waste and conserving just makes sense during this severe drought.” Hofmann said no one should wait for their local provider to impose restrictions to cut back excess water use. “Individual homeowners have a responsibility to use water wisely and without waste,” he said. “A healthy yard needs less water than you may think. Your yard can survive being watered once a week or every other week until these drought conditions improve.” In addition to cutting back on landscape watering, LCRA encourages everyone to follow their local water provider’s rules and to be mindful about all water use. LCRA recommends:

  • Using water-efficient and drought-tolerant plants.
  • Adding mulch to landscapes and compost to turf to help prevent water loss.
  • Covering swimming pools when not in use.
  • Reducing water waste inside the house by turning off water when it’s not needed.

More water-saving tips and information on rebates from LCRA for certain conservation measures are available at LCRA entered Stage 1 of its drought response in July 2022, after cutting off interruptible stored water from the Highland Lakes to agricultural customers in the Gulf Coast, Lakeside and Pierce Ranch agricultural operations in Colorado, Wharton and Matagorda counties. At that time, LCRA requested its firm water customers reduce water use by 5%.  In March 2023, because of the continuing drought, LCRA also cut off stored water for the same agricultural customers for the entirety of 2023.

About LCRAThe 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. For more information, visit

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Clara Tuma
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