Water supply

LCRA manages the Highland Lakes and Colorado River as a system to supply water for more than 1.4 million people as well as businesses, industries, the environment and agriculture in the lower Colorado River basin.

LCRA has the rights to more than 2.1 million acre-feet of water per year. These rights – based mostly on surface water permits issued by the state of Texas – include the right to divert and use up to 1.5 million acre-feet per year from lakes Buchanan and Travis and 636,750 acre-feet per year under downstream run-of-river water rights from the Gulf Coast, Lakeside, Garwood and Pierce Ranch irrigation operations.

New water supplies
Several projects are underway to expand the region’s water supply, including a new reservoir in Wharton County.

Firm and interruptible customers
LCRA sells water for many uses: municipal, irrigation, industrial, agricultural, recreational, domestic use and other beneficial uses authorized by law.

LCRA customers may purchase firm or interruptible water. Firm water is available even during a severe drought. Cities, industries and electric power plants rely on firm water supplies. Agricultural users generally rely on interruptible water, which is less expensive and can be cut back or cut off during water shortages.

A managed water system
LCRA manages lakes Travis and Buchanan under a state-approved Water Management Plan that determines how water is allocated during water supply shortages and when interruptible water supplies are cut back or cut off. The Water Management Plan also determines the amount of water available for environmental flows, which contribute to the health of the lower river and the bays and estuaries downstream of the Highland Lakes. 


The Highland Lakes Overview page has more information about current conditions on the Highland Lakes.