The Lower Colorado River Authority has a new goal to secure future water supplies for Central Texas’ fastest growing areas.

The LCRA wants to provide an additional 60,000 acre-feet of water to the areas between Highland Lakes and Bastrop County by the end of 2040. That’s enough water to flood 60,000 football fields 1 foot deep.

“It’s not just a matter of having the water available—it’s also a matter of where it’s available,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of water, in a news release. “Our work now will help us be ready for the future and the region’s continued growth.”

The details

The LCRA is also working on updating the Water Supply Resources Report—a long-term plan on securing water to Central Texans until 2080—to prepare for worsening drought conditions and higher demand for water as Central Texas’ population rises.

The group is exploring several options to increase the region's water supply, including groundwater wells, building new pipelines, direct potable reuse—distributing treated wastewater into potable water systems—and aquifer storage and recovery, wherein excess water is stored underground during wet times to be used during dry times.

LCRA’s updated Water Supply Resources Report is expected to be released at the end of 2024.

“Many of our municipal and industrial customers contract for water they expect to need in the future, as well as what they need today,” Hofmann said. “That makes sense if you’re contracting for a growing population. Because of that, the amount of water customers actually use is significantly below the total amount committed for future use.”

What else?

The LCRA is nearing the end of building the Arbuckle Reservoir—its first major new reservoir in decades—in Wharton County outside Houston. The reservoir can store up to 40,000 acre-feet of water at a time, which is more than Lake Austin, Lady Bird Lake and Lake Marble Falls combined, and will help reduce the amount of water released from the Highland Lakes to downtown customers.

The reservoir will come online in 2024.

What’s next

The LCRA will seek public input on its future projects; however, specific details haven’t been announced.