Marble Falls, Burnet, Kingsland, Llano, Spicewood, Horseshoe Bay, and ALL of the Highland Lakes
ANNOUNCEMENT: Starting on December 1st, the DailyTrib.com subscription rates will change. The new renewal rate will be $20 for the yearly membership and $4 for the monthly membership. If you currently have a membership, you will be charged the new rate upon renewal.
A private dock on Lake Buchanan is far from water access. The lake’s level has been rapidly dropping since the summer started, and the city of Burnet has taken notice of the deficit. Residents will be under mandatory water use restrictions beginning Aug. 3, when Stage 3 of the city’s drought contingency plan goes into effect. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
The city of Burnet will implement Stage 3 of its drought contingency plan on Thursday, Aug. 3, due to lowering lake levels and continuing scorching temperatures. Residents will be required to stick to a limited outdoor watering schedule while Stage 3 restrictions are in effect.
Residents must limit landscape watering to between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. Monday through Friday depending on the day that corresponds with the last number of their street address.
Addresses ending in:
1 or 2 may water on Mondays
3 or 4 on Tuesdays
5 or 6 on Wednesdays
7 or 8 on Thursdays
9 or 0 on Fridays
“(These restrictions) are something we’ve been looking at internally for the last few weeks,” City Manager David Vaughn told DailyTrib.com. “Whether or not (the restrictions) actually reduce consumption, it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s important that we all do our part.”
Burnet’s Stage 3 restrictions aim to reduce the city’s water use by 20 percent. Violations of the restrictions could result in $50 to $1,000 fines for each instance.
Burnet’s water comes from a combination of surface and groundwater Vaughn said. Typically, the city receives a 50-50 split of water from a firm water contract with the Lower Colorado River Authority on Inks Lake and a groundwater permit with the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District on the Ellenburger-San Saba Aquifer. Vaughn noted that the city is on a 60-40 percent surface-to-groundwater split right now due to damage to a well pump that will likely take weeks to repair.
According to Vaughn, the city has the ability to supply all of its residents with either surface water or groundwater in the event that one or the other becomes unavailable.
The LCRA is on the verge of imposing its own Stage 2 drought contingency plan due to dropping water levels in lakes Buchanan and Travis. The combined water storage capacity of the two reservoirs is currently at 48 percent. Stage 2 restrictions will kick in when the combined levels reach 45 percent, which could happen by mid-August, according to LCRA Vice President of Water John Hofmann.
“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,” he stated in an LCRA media release. “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.”
Inks Lake is known as a “run-of-the-river” lake because its storage is maintained by water released upstream from Lake Buchanan. While the water level in Inks is maintained at a somewhat constant level, all water pulled from it has a direct impact on Buchanan’s level, which is the lowest it’s been since 2015.
Groundwater conservation is also being monitored by the Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District, which imposed a mandatory 15 percent reduction on permitted groundwater use in Burnet County in December 2022. The county is also under Stage 4 of the district’s drought management plan, which calls for a 30 percent voluntary reduction of groundwater use.