Thursday, September 15, 2011

LCRA prepares for water restrictions to farmers in face of drought

The goal would be to select a level so that water is not released to start a crop next year and then cut off mid-crop. This would waste the water since the crop would not be able to mature

Read the complete news release from the LCRA
September 14, 2011

Highland Lakes water
storage will be half empty by
October according to LCRA
Photo courtesy LCRA

Because of the severe and ongoing drought, the Lower Colorado River Authority's Board of Directors will consider asking the state for permission to reduce or cut off water from the Highland Lakes to farmers next year.

The Board will discuss this and other options for managing the drought at its Water Operations Committee meeting on Sept. 20 and its next meeting on Sept. 21.

This comes as new projections show that the combined storage of lakes Travis and Buchanan, the region's water supply reservoirs, could drop to 640,000 to 680,000 acre-feet by January 1. This would move the lakes very close to the 600,000 acre-foot level that would trigger a declaration that conditions are worse than during the worst drought in the state's history, the 10-year drought of the 1940s and 50s.

"These are unprecedented conditions, and it's important to evaluate options to protect our municipal and industrial customers while balancing the needs of agriculture," said General Manager Becky Motal.


Barbara Hopson said...

ALL the surface water in Texas belongs to the State, and various river authorities (LCRA, GBRA, etc.) are charged with managing the supply. Many of the river authorities in Central Texas have completely permitted -- or nearly -- all the water that is available in their districts. The City of Kyle just signed a contract with GBRA for the last amount of water to be permitted from Canyon Lake. Kyle believes that added water supply (which will flow through pipelines already in place) means they have sufficient water to last
until the Hays Caldwell Public Utility Agency water supply begins flowing to them around 2018.

Water in Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis, permitted by LCRA, may not all be permitted yet, but the amount currently available in this terrible drought is already spoken for. As this article states, LCRA may have to tell downstream rice farmers that there will be no water for their crops next year. Most of the farmers have crop insurance, but their counties will suffer because the field workers won't have jobs and therefore won't be able to spend money at local businesses.

Now that surface water in our area is almost all permitted, there will be an even more intensive effort made by cities to transport groundwater to their citizens -- often from places such as the Bastrop area, which doesn't want to give up its water.

Anonymous said...

It's the same old crap all the time. So is the reporting. We know what is being done.

Why don't you report what we can do about these issues that would directly change the problem for the better.

The Emancipator said...

OK Anonymous 1,how about

1) conserving water,

2) stop unnecessary developments,

3) quit acting like an ingnoramus and treat your water like it is finite,

4) get past your paranoid right wing belief system that all water shortage stories are liberal anti-growth blather,

5) tell your politicians that they must stop more mindless growth until we get out of this drought.

The sad part is that I even have to answer your angry plea.

Anonymous said...

Telling officials does nothing. We've had more than a decade to see that.

Conservation only does so much.

HOW do you stop developments? Pleas fall on deaf special interest motivated ears.

It has nothing to do with liberal or right-wing since the two parties are the blame with the corporate sector for most of our ills.

The politicians are playing politics. They don't listen. We voters have tried to replace them, but the new blood is equally ineffective, special interest motivated, corrupt and/or inept.

I'm sorry you are so distraught with answering questions that are relevant. BTW, you didn't answer any of them.

The majority need to know what step by step process will enable change for the better. Just pointing fingers and making statement as you did mean little in finding any resolution.

Barbara Hopson said...

Thanks, Emancipator! I was about to post the following when I read your post, and I think I'll add mine anyway.

To Anon, 8:10 p.m.:

The facts have been laid out for you. Get a discussion going on what YOU think should be done. Every suggested solution to a problem seems to infuriate at least one person on this blog to the point of name-calling (usually anonymously).

1. There is a shortage, or looming shortage, of water in Hays County.
Most people agree with that statement. A few people deny the shortage -- maybe because their well hasn't yet gone dry. If you are a denier, discussion ends here.

2. Conserve water.

a) Don't water your lawn. If you have St. Augustine grass or another thirsty variety, replace it
with native grass and/or decorative rock.

b) Don't put in a swimming pool. Go to Blue Hole.

c) Don't wash your car or truck all the time. Having a dusty vehicle is almost required -- like having a brown lawn.

d) Don't encourage population growth in a county that has been sparsely populated (until recently) for a reason -- there's not enough water here!

3. Ask your city council and your
water supplier what their long-range plans are for water supply. Give them your opinion on their plans. Don't let your community wait until water is almost gone or already permitted to other users. Make a plan now. Volunteer for committees.

4. Don't play Gotcha! with people who make suggestions on this blog. Point out politely what you feel is incorrect or unworkable about what they say, and suggest an alternative if you can.

5. When Commissioners Court approves a plat for a new subdivision, the subdivision owners are required to show that there is sufficient water to supply the subdivision. Ask the Court to enforce that stipulation and not routinely approve every plat which is set before it.

6. Ask Commissioners Court to support legislation which would give HTGCD full regulatory powers that almost every GCD except ours has. HTGCD has very little revenue with which to accomplish its assigned tasks. Each year it has to
go begging to Commissioners Court for money, and this year, at the insistence of Commissioner Will Conley, the amount was reduced. HTGCD doesn't even have a staff vehicle; employees must use their own vehicles, which often aren't fit to traverse rough terrain.

Anonymous said...

Boycott Commissioner Will Conley's car wash operations!

The Emancipator said...

Yes, Anonymous of September 16, 11:38 AM, I did exactly as you said. Sorry for my limited rant.

How about this? You say:

"How do you stop developments? Pleas fall on deaf special interest motivated ears."

1) Let's organize people in Hay County and let real estate agents know in no uncertain terms we and everyone we know will boycott their offices in ALL forms if they sell properties in the new unwanted developments.

2) Let developers and their crony politicians know we will picket their offices if they go through with projects that continue to do damage in the county.

3) Let local retailers know we will boycott their businesses if they support in any way developments that are unnecessary crony projects.

There are other ways to stop developments that will require active civil disobedience.

And we will need to actively use civil disobedience more than ever now.

Obviously personal action and civil disobedience is harder and feels risky. But it is the only thing that will work anymore, as our political system is entirely corrupted by big money and ignorant voters.

We have nothing to lose.

Barbara H. said...

We also can carry signs outside the courthouse on days when Commissioners Court is meeting to discuss water projects or subdivision plats or related issues. The signs should say when we are "for" a given idea as well as when we're "against."

We also should attend Comm Court meetings and sign up to speak for or against proposals. The speech time limit is 3 minutes, but you
don't have to speak that long. Just stand up and say whether you are in favor of or against a proposal.

Activism brings media coverage to your cause.

Save the water said...

Desalination appears to be the last resort for Texas cities that are drying up. Odessa is the latest. In one year they estimate their conventional water supply will dry up so they are moving to the El Paso model which has a massive desalination plant, the biggest in the state, $90 million.

I didnt know this but there are about 40 municipal desalination plants operating in Texas cities. Supposedly there is an ocean of brackish ground water (brine) beneath Texas that can be converted to potable water.

I hope we do not resort to using up all our fresh ground water supply first but that seems to be the general idea. How very American (or Texan) it is to use up nature's bounty all in the name of growth and a quick buck.

Rocky Boschert said...

Water conservation can be implemented by purchasing newly designed technology that saves water.

For instance, the following are personal technology we can each purchase to limit our water consumption:

1. Low Flow Shower Heads
2. Water Faucet Aerators
3.Toilet Tank Water Savers
4. Water Flow Monitors
5. Biosand Water Filters

Each of these products are manufactured by a company out of Grand Rapids, Michigan called "Cascade Engineering."

These products can be purchased on-line at:

The Poet said...

Regarding saving water when flushing the toilet, a friend suggested a poem to live by;

"If it's yellow, let it mellow,
If it's brown, flush it down."

Patricia M. said...

I remember that poem from the drought of the 50's. My mother used to tell us that all the time.

Anonymous said...

The Board of LCRA meets this Wednesday. The day before, its Water Operations Committee meets, and they may have recommendations about buyers for the LCRA water facilities.

At any rate, maybe we'll learn on Wed, Sept 21 whether the Coalition (of which Hays County is a member)will be buying anything from LCRA.

Barbara Hopson said...

The City of Austin recognizes that St. Augustine grass requires great amounts of water to maintain, and it has come up with a plan to give homeowners incentive to do away with it.

From Austin Am-Statesman (Sept. 19):

"The Austin Water Utility is offering to pay city residents to let their St. Augustine grass die and replace it with more drought-hearty varieties.

Austin Water announced a plan last week that would give residents $10 per 100 square feet of lawn to plant buffalo or Bermuda grass when the drought is over if they cease watering their St. Augustine lawn and let it die. St. Augustine is a popular lawn grass that is lush and requires a lot of water to maintain."