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AUSTIN — A drought that could rank as one of the top five worst dry spells in decades has officials hoping voluntary water conservation doesn’t have to give way to more drastic measures in a few weeks.

The worsening situation prompted Lower Colorado River Authority General Manager Tom Mason on May 18 to call on customers in the Highland Lakes to follow current voluntary water-use restrictions. He spoke during a press conference in Austin at the authority’s headquarters.

“Mother Nature is dealing us a very serious drought, and LCRA is taking it seriously,” Mason said.

The general manager is hopeful the voluntary restrictions will reduce water use by at least 5 percent, he said.

“Here’s the bottom line — water is a finite, shared resource,” Mason said. “We cannot manufacture any more water. But all of us will have what we need — if we all do our part.”