Agricultural Water Conservation
LCRA’s 2019 Water Conservation Plan outlines conservation practices for interruptible water supply, which is mainly used for agriculture, and sets five and 10-year conservation goals.
To help LCRA’s irrigation operations and interruptible water customers reach the conservation goals, LCRA helps fund conservation projects through grants and House Bill 1437.
LCRA developed conservation strategies funded through HB 1437 with input from the Agriculture Water Conservation Fund Advisory Committee. The committee is a nine-member group of farmers and agricultural experts from Colorado, Wharton and Matagorda counties.
Laser land leveling cost-share program
The HB 1437 Agricultural Water Conservation Cost-Share Program provides funding to recertify previously leveled fields that have met their 15-year useful life. The funding can help with surveying, touching up permanently leveled fields and converting fields with temporary levees to permanent levees.
To qualify, fields must have been previously leveled, at least 70% irrigated with water from LCRA, and have been irrigated with water from LCRA at least twice in the past 10 years.
Leveling land reduces the average required field flood depth and increases the efficiency of water used on individual fields. More than 30,000 acres of farmland were leveled through the previous HB 1437 land leveling cost-share program from 2006 to 2013. LCRA worked with The University of Texas LBJ School of Public Affairs to complete a savings verification study of the program in 2012. Read more about the 2006-2013 land leveling cost-share program in the HB 1437 annual report.
Garwood Agricultural Division gate automation project
In 2020, the LCRA Board authorized a project to automate 46 main canal gate structures in the Garwood Agricultural Division over three years. This $1.1 million project will be partially funded by a $244,744 grant from the Texas Water Development Board. In 2022, 18 sites were automated, and the 28 remaining sites will be fully automated in 2023. Read more about the Garwood gate automation project in the HB 1437 annual report.
Gulf Coast Agricultural Division gate rehabilitation and control project
LCRA completed the first phase of the Gulf Coast gate rehabilitation and control project with a $257,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Phase 1 included automating and providing centralized control of 11 check gate structures at the head of the eastern canal system in the Gulf Coast Agricultural Division.
LCRA launched the second phase of the gate rehabilitation project in 2013, which completed automation of the remaining nine main check gate structures on the main line of the eastern canal system and automated five gates regulating the delivery of water to a firm industrial customer. Phase 2 was partially funded by a $100,000 grant from the Texas Water Development Board.
In 2014, LCRA launched the third phase of the gate rehabilitation project, which began automation of the western section of the Gulf Coast canal system. LCRA launched a fourth phase of gate rehabilitation in 2016 to continue along the western canal system and a fifth phase in 2018 to complete automation of main canal gate structures on the eastern canal system. Phase 5 was also partially funded by a $90,000 grant from the Texas Water Development Board.
LCRA completed automation of main check gates essential to the operating the entire Gulf Coast Agricultural Division by 2019. Read more about the Gulf Coast Agricultural Division gate modernization project in the HB 1437 annual report.
Garwood Agricultural Division measurement project
The Garwood volumetric measurement project was a conservation project to install or rehabilitate about 400 water measurement and structures on existing canals and field laterals in the Garwood Agricultural Division. It also involved rehabilitating 85 miles of canal laterals to facilitate LCRA control of all measurement structures. LCRA completed the project in 2012. The majority of the project was funded through HB 1437 with help from a $99,000 Texas Water Development Board grant.