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Marble Falls going to mandatory Stage 3 water restrictions

Paddlers on Lake Marble Falls

Lake Marble Falls (pictured) is a run-of-the-river lake, which means its water level remains consistent, even in drought conditions. To keep it at that constant level, Lake Buchanan, one of two Lower Colorado River Authority reservoirs, will continue to drop as it feeds Inks Lake and lakes LBJ and Marble Falls downstream. As of Tuesday, Aug. 1, Buchanan was at 992.02 feet. When full, it is 20 feet higher at 1,018 feet. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

The city of Marble Falls will implement Stage 3 water restrictions from its Drought Contingency Plan on Thursday, Aug. 3, in an effort to reduce all water usage by 20 percent. The restrictions apply to Marble Falls water users inside and outside of the city limits. 

“Stage 3 comes down to us from the state,” Mayor Dave Rhodes told “It’s not optional.” 

The last time Marble Falls was under Stage 3 restrictions was 2017.

Stage 3 lays out mandatory restrictions on watering landscaped areas, which, as of Aug. 3, will be limited to one time a week between 7 p.m. and 10 a.m. based on the following schedule: 

  • residential addresses ending in an odd number on Tuesday
  • residential addresses ending in an even number on Thursday 
  • commercial even-numbered addresses on Monday
  • commercial odd-numbered addresses on Friday
  • public schools on Wednesday

Watering by hand-held hose with a positive shut-off device, drip irrigation systems, or a faucet-filled bucket or watering can of five gallons or less is allowed at any time. 

Stage 3 will most likely stay in place until it rains, Rhodes said, “even if that rain isn’t here.” 

Rains in the upper and lower Colorado River basin fill lakes Buchanan and Travis, the LCRA’s two reservoirs.

On Monday, July 31, the city produced 2.5 million gallons of water, City Manager Mike Hodge said. On a winter day, water demands are at about 1.5 million. On spring or fall days under normal conditions, water demands are at 1.8 million to 2 million gallons a day.

“That’s what we’re trying to get back to with a 20 percent reduction,” Hodge said. “Right now, we are waiting for inflows into the reservoirs to raise them back up. We just don’t know when God has that planned.” 

Rhodes plans to introduce long-term strategies for water conservation at a future City Council meeting, including customer credits for installing new water technologies and xeriscaping. 

“I want to save water with incentives instead of making things punitive,” he said. 

Water customers are also being asked to conserve water in other ways by following suggestions on from the LCRA. The site provides runtime recommendations for outdoor irrigation and a lineup of residential rebates for irrigation system evaluations and equipment and pool, landscape, and soil testing.

Marble Falls is an LCRA firm water customer, buying all of its water from Lake Marble Falls. Recently, the City Council discussed installing a $7 million groundwater system that could increase water capacity by about half of what it now takes out of the lake.