LCRA urges everyone to use water wisely

Outdoor watering can account for up to 70% of home water use

June 29, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas – Though recent rains have provided some welcome relief, drought continues across much of Central Texas and the Lower Colorado River Authority is urging everyone to be mindful about using water wisely. “Conserving water is a necessity in a semi-arid region like Central Texas,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water. “We all should play a role in conserving water and making sure it’s used wisely, especially during these hot, dry conditions.”  Water use, along with evaporation, goes up significantly during hotter weather. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that up to 70% of water used at homes in the summer goes to landscapes. LCRA encourages everyone to incorporate smart water management practices into their daily lives, including:

  • Watering yards only before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. and following local watering restrictions.  
  • Using water-efficient landscaping and drought-tolerate plants. “There are beautiful plants that can survive these hot Texas summers with minimal water,” Hofmann said. “We encourage people to use native plants instead of ones more suited to regions with much greater rainfall or milder seasons.”
  • Covering swimming pools to reduce evaporation.
  • Adding mulch to landscape beds and compost to turf to help prevent water loss.  
  • Washing full loads of laundry or adjusting the water level when washing smaller loads.

Visit for more water-saving tips, tools and resources. LCRA entered Stage 1 of its drought contingency plan in July 2022. Under Stage 1, LCRA is requesting its firm water customers reduce water use by 5%. Each customer decides how to implement drought response measures. Firm water customers are primarily municipalities, water districts and industries that purchase water that will be available even during a repeat of the worst drought this region has seen, the drought from 2008-2015. Other customers purchase “interruptible” water that is curtailed or cut off during drought. Interruptible customers are agricultural operations in Colorado, Wharton and Matagorda counties. In addition to requesting firm customers conserve water, LCRA has taken action under its Water Management Plan to curtail water to interruptible customers in the lower basin. In July 2022, LCRA determined that because of the duration and intensity of the drought, no Highland Lakes water would be available to the Gulf Coast, Lakeside and Pierce Ranch agricultural operations in Colorado, Wharton and Matagorda counties for the second growing season in 2022. On March 1, 2023, LCRA determined that no Highland Lakes water would be available to those operations through 2023. Under the WMP, LCRA will conduct another water supply evaluation on July 1, but because no water was available for the first growing season, none can be available for the second growing season. LCRA will supply a limited amount of interruptible stored water from the Highland Lakes to the Garwood Agricultural Division consistent with prior agreements. The next time Highland Lakes water could be available to customers in the Gulf Coast, Lakeside and Pierce Ranch operations will be after the March 1, 2024, evaluation date.LCRA customers rely on water from lakes Buchanan and Travis, the two water supply reservoirs in the Highland Lakes. Together, the lakes supply water for more than 1.4 million people, industries and businesses, agriculture, and the environment. Lakes Buchanan and Travis are designed to fluctuate, going up during rainy times and holding that water for later use. “The Highland Lakes are a shared resource that continue to provide a reliable water supply, as they have for more than 80 years,” Hofmann said. “The lakes are doing exactly what they were designed to do, providing water for us to use during drier times. Now it’s up to all water users to make sure water is used wisely, especially during dry times like these.” If the combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis falls below 900,000 acre-feet, or about 45% of capacity, LCRA will move to Stage 2 of its drought contingency plan and will ask firm customers to reduce water use by 10 to 20%. Each firm customer has its own drought response plan to determine when and how much to cut back water use. As of June 29, combined storage stands at 52%, or about 1.013 million acre-feet. LCRA projections show that without additional inflows, combined storage could reach 900,000 acre-feet in the next few months. LCRA lake level projections are available at

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. For more information, visit

Media Contact:

Clara Tuma
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