Drought causes water concern for area utility companies
By LPR Staff
As an oppressive drought continues to bear down on Central Texas, utility providers across the region continue to search for ways to ensure water supplies for their customers.
In Lockhart, for instance, water customers have been asked to follow watering restrictions for longer than a year. City Manager Vance Rodgers an
nounced last week that although some residents may have been lax in following the restrictions, the city continues to take them seriously.
“We are still monitoring and put out violation notices,” he said. “We will file on those who refuse to be compliant.”
Rodgers did note that some residents of the City of Lockhart have private water wells drawn from the Leona Formation reservoir, rather than the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer, from which most of the city’s municipal water is drawn.
However, Lockhart Mayor James “Jimmy” Bertram noted Monday those with private water wells should also be concerned about the drought.
“Even though they are on private wells that don’t come out of the same aquifer, there are other water customers with wells on that aquifer,” he said. “Some of those customers have run out of water or have had to drill deeper as the water table in the Leona falls.”
Although the city cannot officially restrict or monitor those customers on private wells, Bertram encouraged those who draw water for their lawns and gardens to be “neighborly,” and think about “folks who have that as their only source of water.”
In response to customer complaints about the use of well-water for lawn watering, Bertram said Lockhart could only remind residents about perceptions.
“We hear complaints about certain folks, and even though we can’t do anything about them legally, we want to remind them that as bad as they think it looks to have a dry lawn, it looks worse to have a community that isn’t interested in conserving water while we’re in the middle of this drought.”
Within the City of Lockhart, municipal utility customers may only water with sprinklers or sprinkling systems on certain days and times.
Commercial and multi-family properties (fourplexes or above) may water on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Residential customers with addresses ending in odd numbers may water on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Residential customers with addresses ending in even numbers may water on Thursdays and Sundays.
Outdoor watering under these restrictions may be done between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Although the outdoor watering restrictions do not apply to hand-watering, attended soaker hoses or can-watering is allowed at any time, residents are reminded that it is most beneficial to water between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m., when daytime heat is less likely to cause evaporation.
Additionally, while use of small pools and recreational water use is allowed, customers should be aware that washing patios and driveways is prohibited, as is watering to the point that water accumulates in streets or gutters.
Both the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) and the Guadalupe Blanco River Authority (GBRA) have also expressed concern about the drought situation.
With growth expected throughout the region in the next several years, LCRA is struggling to formulate a plan that will help to maintain water sources, while GBRA officials watch as their water tables fall daily.
In fact, an announcement released by GBRA on Monday shows every measured flow section in the Guadalupe River Basin is documented as being well below the median level. Of note, the flow of the San Marcos Springs has fallen to 87 cubic feet per second, whereas its median level is 164 cfs. Below 100 cfs, GBRA considers the San Marcos Springs to be at a “jeopardy level.”