The Austin Water Utility website states that the recent rains have helped the drought situation in the city but not ended it. Now, Austin will be spared – at least, for now – from reaching and surpassing the record water storage lows (621, 221 acre-feet) in Lakes Buchanan and Travis hit back in September of 1952.
Thanks to the March storms, the lakes are at 36% capacity or 731,620 acre-feet. But, as The Austin Statesman.com reports, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) officials must still plan as though the worst will happen. Texas has yet to move into the summer months, when water usage typically increases.
LCRA officials have said that if the combined storage of Lakes Buchanan and Travis reaches less than 30% capacity or 600,000 acre-feet, then the LCRA would force municipalities and firm customers to reduce water use by 20% from a designated baseline year. It would also cut water to all interruptible customers.
The good news is that Austinites have been making an effort to voluntarily reduce water use. And both Austin Water Utility and the LCRA have continued to work to foster awareness about the need to continue conserving water.
Additionally, because the lake levels are low, Lakes Buchanan and Travis have decreased surface areas, which will cause lower rates of evaporation. According to the Austin Statesman.com, evaporation was 190,000 acre-feet in 2011. But in 2014, that rate went down to 137,000 acre-feet.
What all of this means for Austin Water Utility customers is that Stage 2 Water Restrictions will remain in effect for the foreseeable future. Outdoor watering using irrigation systems is limited to one day per week for both businesses and residences. For more information, visit http://www.austintexas.gov/department/stage-2-watering-restrictions.
South Austin Irrigation believes that knowledge is key to making the right irrigation system choices, especially in a state as prone to drought as Texas. We can help you determine the best, most cost-effective methods of keeping your lawn and garden as beautiful as it can be.
Make every drop of Austin’s most precious resource – as well as every dollar of your landscape maintenance budget – count: contact us today!