Lakeway residents were urged to conserve water during a presentation by the Central Texas Water Coalition—an organization focused on protecting the water supply in the Highland Lakes—at a City Council meeting March 18.

How we got here

In July, Travis County officials sent a request to the Lower Colorado River Authority to re-examine its water management plan as Travis County’s access to water is threatened.

The LCRA and CTWC meet quarterly to discuss the management plan, and CTWC Executive Director Shannon Hamilton said that the CTWC provides input to ensure the plan is “protective and conservative.” CTWC is advocating for a safe yield, which would protect the amount of water that can be withdrawn from local sources.

Hamilton said the inflow of water in Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are extremely low. Only 17% of the historical average of water came into the lakes in 2022, and so far this year, the lakes have only received about 18% of the historical average, she said.

“It’s going to take a flood, and we’re running out of time,” Hamilton said of recovering lake levels.

This past summer, the Central Texas region was hit with record-breaking high heat and little rainfall. Last year, both Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan dipped to the lowest capacity they’ve been since 2013, as previously reported by Community Impact.

What residents should know

Hamilton recommends that Lakeway residents do the following to conserve water:
  • Reduce time spent watering lawns.
  • Plant native grasses and plants.
  • Don’t power wash.
  • Check for water leaks in and outside of the home.
  • Invest in a cover for pools.
“Yes, people are entitled to water 12 hours once a week, but we don't have to water 12 hours once a week,” Hamilton said. “It's time to start transitioning out of that, and that's what I would encourage everyone to do.”

Keep in mind

As of March 19, about 35% of Travis County is in a severe drought, the second of four drought categories, according to the United States Drought Monitor.

Hamilton said that looking ahead, by 2080 an estimated 4.5 million people will be living in the area. With a population increase, water needs are only increasing.

“People don't seem to grasp this is real,” Hamilton said. “Our lakes are drying up.”