LCRA working to meet future water needs in fast-growing areas

Priority is adding about 60,000 acre-feet of water available for expected growth in Highland Lakes/Austin/Bastrop areas

Sept. 20, 2023

AUSTIN, Texas – The Lower Colorado River Authority is working toward developing new water supplies to meet the expected future demands for water in the high-growth area stretching from the Highland Lakes in Central Texas to Wharton County in southeast Texas. “It’s not just a matter of having the water available – it’s also a matter of where it’s available,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water. “Our work now will help us be ready for the future and the region’s continued growth.” As part of that effort, LCRA is updating its Water Supply Resource Report, a long-term plan for water supplies through 2080. The report, expected to be completed in late 2024, will include potential water supply projects to help meet projected municipal, industrial and other firm water demands and a cushion to account for uncertainties, such as higher demands than anticipated from existing or new customers or more intense droughts than the region has experienced in the past. LCRA staff discussed the new WSRR during a presentation to the LCRA Board of Directors Water Operations Committee meeting in Austin on Wednesday. The presentation is available online at . When the Arbuckle Reservoir comes online in late 2024, LCRA will have about 590,000 acre-feet per year of total firm water supply on an annual basis, with about 450,000 acre-feet of that available in the area from the Highland Lakes to Wharton County. An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons. Based on initial work on the plan, LCRA is targeting having an additional 60,000 acre-feet per year of water supply in the areas expected to experience the highest growth. The new supply would serve the area between the Highland Lakes and Bastrop County, including the dynamic Interstate 35/Texas 130 corridor. By 2040, customers will be looking to reserve water to meet their expected demands during the second half of this century. To contract for those requests, LCRA is working to have the additional supply online by 2040. “Many of our municipal and industrial customers contract for water they expect to need in the future, as well as what they need today,” Hofmann said. “That makes sense if you’re contracting for a growing population. Because of that, the amount of water customers actually use is significantly below the total amount committed for future use.” LCRA is evaluating a number of options to increase the amount of water available in high-growth areas, including water supply storage in the mid-basin, groundwater, return flows from Williamson County, direct potable reuse, pipelines, and aquifer storage and recovery. “We are very focused on finding new water supplies,” Hofmann said. “The ‘easy’ water supplies have already been developed. The new solutions are going to be more expensive and more innovative.”As part of its process, LCRA will seek public input as it works to prioritize future projects.  LCRA staff also discussed sources of potential new water supplies with the LCRA Board Water Operations Committee on Wednesday. That presentation is available online at

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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