Lower Colorado River Authority staff is putting together a 90-year plan to meet the water needs of the lower Colorado River basin—an area that follows the Colorado River from Lake Buchanan to the Gulf Coast.
“LCRA is planning water supply for future generations,” LCRA General Manager Tom Mason said. “The Highland Lakes, built some 70 years ago, have met our region’s water needs and enabled economic growth and prosperity. It is important for us to come together and start planning for the water needs of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
Since 2008, LCRA staff has been preparing the Water Supply Resource Plan, a document that will serve as roadmap for how the water authority will meet water needs for cities, businesses and industries through the year 2100.
The plan considers water supply options and planning priorities. Based on previous public input and technical analysis, LCRA staff prepared a draft plan that includes potential water supply projects, how much they could cost, and how the projects may affect available water for the environment, lake levels and downstream farmers.
Some water supply options in the draft plan include stepping-up conservation programs, building new reservoirs downstream of the Austin area, desalinating brackish ground or seawater, adding water to aquifers for later use and using other ground water sources.
LCRA estimates for water improvement projects under the draft plan range from $3 million to $1.6 billion.
LCRA staff expect current water supplies, the Highland Lakes—which include the chain of lakes between lakes Buchanan and Travis—and the ability to use water from the river, to provide adequate water for cities and industries for the next 50 years or more.
While residents in the lower Colorado River basin experienced months of drought in 2008 and 2009, recent rains have eased the effects of the drought, but LCRA staff warn water troubles are not yet over.
Water storage levels in lakes Buchanan and Travis have risen to about 60 percent full from their low point of 39 percent full in September 2009, according to an LCRA report.
“The good news is that we have many options for expanding water supplies in the future and we have time to consider which options are best for our region,” Mason said.
The deadline for public input is March 19. To read the draft plan and give feedback, visit www.lcra.org/watersupply or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attend a community discussion:
5:30-8 p.m. Feb. 25
Burnet Community Center
401 E. Jackson St.
Burnet, Texas 78611
6-8:30 p.m. March 8
LCRA Service Center
3505 Montopolis Drive, Building A
Austin, Texas 78744
Previous coverage from Community Impact Newspaper: Water management, line extension ensure vital supply, Preserving water for the future and Water systems planned to support cities' growth