This photo of Lake Buchanan was taken in March 2023 when the lake was at 1,001.54 feet. As of July 24, the lake was at 999.01 feet, which is 57 percent full. Lake Travis was 43 percent full on the same day. Staff photo
By mid-August, lakes Travis and Buchanan are expected to drop below 45 percent capacity, triggering Stage 2 in the Lower Colorado River Authority’s drought contingency plan, which calls for a 10-20 percent reduction in water use. In anticipation of continued drops in the reservoirs, the LCRA is urging all water users in the lower Colorado River basin to incorporate additional water conservation efforts into their daily lives.
“It’s been a while since we’ve had any rain, and these extreme 100-degree-plus days are taking a toll on all of us,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water. “With very little water flowing into the lakes and a ‘heat dome’ roasting our area since early June, lake levels are decreasing as significant amounts of water evaporate or are used on landscaping in the region. We all need to step up and do our part to conserve.”
As supply reservoirs, lakes Buchanan and Travis provide water for more than 1.4 million Central Texas residents as well as businesses, industries, and the environment. During the summer, as much as 70 percent of the water used from the two lakes is for outdoor landscaping, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“We all have an important role to play in helping preserve our water supply,” Hofmann said. “Every one of us can and should make sure we use water wisely.’’
The LCRA encourages everyone to follow their local water providers’ restrictions for outdoor watering. Even if no local restrictions are in place, the LCRA recommends following these water-saving tips:
Water yards no more than twice a week, and only before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. to reduce evaporation, if allowed by your local provider.
Use water-efficient landscaping and drought-tolerant plants.
Cover swimming pools when not in use.
Add mulch to landscapes and compost to turf to help prevent water loss.
Visit WaterSmart.org for more water-saving tips, tools, and resources.
“Our water supply is stressed but still in OK shape,” Hofmann said. “It’s in our entire region’s interest to slow down water consumption because everything we do now will help prolong and protect our water supply. We are getting close to the next trigger in our drought contingency plan and customers soon will be implementing additional drought response measures. But no one should wait for restrictions to be put in place to stop wasting water.’’