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LCRA wants public’s help on water plan

BURNET — The Lower Colorado River Authority wants the public’s help to develop a water plan for the next 90 years.

LCRA officials will discuss the revised draft of the authority’s Water Supply Resource Plan from 5:30-8 p.m. today in the Burnet Community Center, 401 E. Jackson St.

“Water is our most important commodity as we move into the future,” Precinct 1 County Commissioner Bill Neve said. “If we do not settle the issue as to where our water will come from — it will stunt our county’s growth.”

Attendees also can complete an opinion survey to help LCRA determine the best strategy for the development of water supply resources during the next nine decades, officials said.

An online survey is available for those who can’t make the meeting through March 19 at www.lcra.org/water supply.

Neve has already looked at some of plan,which deals with “firm water.”

“Some of it I agree with, and some of it I do not,” he added.

Firm water is how much water LCRA can supply to cities, businesses and industries in the Highland Lakes and nearby areas during a repeat of the drought of record or the worst-recorded drought in the lower river basin. The resource plan will serve as a guide for the development of firm water supplies through 2100, according to LCRA officials.

Several options are being considered, including maximum use of existing water rights; significant water conservation and wastewater reuse; the construction of off-channel reservoirs downstream; a pipeline to bring water from downstream reservoirs to Travis County; desalination of sea water or groundwater; storing water for future use in aquifers; and the purchase and import of groundwater.

It may cost up to $1.6 billion to implement all of the options, LCRA officials have said.

Neve said he favors the construction of off-channel reservoirs, he said.

“They will supply water for downstream users and leave water in the Highland Lakes,” he said.

raymond@thepicayune.com