As published in the Lake Travis View, week of May 21, 2015.
Recent rain helpful, but crisis continues
Much has been said and written about the recent rains we have had, and they are certainly good news. Our combined storage as of today is 813,429 Acre Feet (AF), which is about 100 AF more than this date one year ago. One AF is an acre of water that is 12 inches deep. Combined storage is the total amount of water stored in Lake Travis and Lake Buchannan in total.
The sad truth is however that storage is only 40% capacity, so we are still in a very precarious position. As we enter the months of July and August, we can lose as much as 1500-2000 AF per day. One can see how quickly that storage can shrink when we can lose up to 60,000 AF in one month.
It is always unsettling when news reports are published that indicate “the drought is over in Texas”, because in terms of our water supply that is far from the truth. The LCRA has an Emergency Order still in force that provides adjustments to the water supply curve that reduces the amount of water available to interruptible customers and raised the cut-off level to 1.1 million A.F on March 1st. In other words no agricultural releases downstream other than Garwood, (which is a separate contract).
Obviously, we all hope the rains continue and our lakes fill to capacity. For the time being, however, we are still in a major deficit in terms of our stored water. We continue to be under Stage 3 restrictions, which allows irrigation only once per week depending on street address, and no irrigation is allowed between the hours of 10AM and 7PM.
We are all enjoying (and rejoicing in) the recent rainfall. It is important for us to remember that for all Lake Travis area residents, the crisis is not over. We continue to maintain our diligence to conserve water and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best.
Lakeway MUD serves over 9,000 people with water, wastewater and reuse water. In order to ensure that we have enough water, we have to be mindful of our water consumption. The reuse water that is used for irrigation is conservation at its best. It replaces 29% of potable water and allows us to gain beneficial reuse from the recycled water. We have been practicing beneficial reuse for over forty years there-by conserving valuable fresh water resources with the cooperation of our customers.
Lakeway MUD thanks all citizens and business for their understanding of our restrictions. The cooperation from the public has been excellent, with very few violations reported through these trying times.
Board Approves Test Wells
The Board also approved a plan to drill for water at two different locations. The idea is to find a supplemental water source that will help during the most severe drought. The supply of the supplemental source should yield about 400,000 to 500,000 gallons per day that with the inter-connect should satisfy the needs of our residents through the drought.
Update on Lohmans Crossing Land
After many years of tedious engineering, and one full year of working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), we are pleased to announce that Lakeway MUD is very close to receiving final approval on the permit that will release the land we own on Lohmans Crossing. This land has been tied up as a place for Lakeway MUD to release excess wastewater in the past by means of sprinklers which had been installed on the property years ago.
Lakeway MUD was able to develop alternate sources for disposing of the excess water for which the Cedar Tract had been under permit, and about one year ago began the tedious task of applying to the TCEQ for the release of the property. Just this week, Lakeway MUD received verbal news that the permit that frees the property for other uses has been signed. A direct result of this development (as soon as we receive the signed permit) is that the Cedar Tract will become what is termed ‘Surplus Property’. Surplus Property in a municipal organization is property that is no longer being used for the benefit of the Taxpayers.
With all of this in mind, Lakeway MUD has taken the first big step toward doing something different with the Lohmans Cedar Tract. We will keep you informed as events develop.
For additional information on water saving tips and more, please visit our website at www.lakewaymud.org