STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
LLANO — Although Llano received less than an inch of rain in the past week, city officials on Aug. 14 lowered mandatory water restrictions from Stage 5 to Stage 3.
Heavy rains farther west — about 4 inches in parts of Mason County — flowed down the Llano River and into Llano’s Town Lake, which serves as the city’s reservoir.
The weekend rains provided some relief, but City Manager Scott Edmondson sees a long road ahead.
“I wouldn’t say we’re out of the woods yet, but it did definitely help,” Edmondson said. “Until we know exactly where we’re going to be standing long term, I’d like people to remain water conservation-minded.”
The goal of Stage 3 water restrictions is to limit the city’s water treatment plant to 800,000 gallons of water pumped per day. At Stage 5, the goal was 450,000 gallons per day.
Stage 3 restrictions include landscape irrigation twice per week during designated hours with a hand-held hose, bucket, or drip-irrigation system. Hose-end sprinklers and automatic sprinkler systems are allowed once per week.
Washing vehicles is prohibited; however, commercial car washes may operate from 6-10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.
Refilling swimming pools is prohibited except on designated watering days, also from 6-10 a.m. and 8 p.m. to midnight.
According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, streamflow at the Llano River in the city had been at 1 cubic foot per second in August until rainfall upstream reached Llano on Aug. 13. Streamflow peaked at 180 cubic feet per second early that day and has since tapered off to the 50-cubic-feet-per-second range.
Llano officials will again discuss the water conservation and drought contingency plan during the regular City Council meeting Aug. 20.
With no rain in immediate weather forecasts, water conservation is likely to continue for Llano residents and businesses.
“I appreciate the efforts people have made to work with us through this,” Edmondson said. “Hopefully, we’ll get some more rain. It’s what we need more than anything.”