The persistent above-normal temperatures in our area have led to tough water challenges and they’re about to get tougher. Due to a variety of natural and manmade conditions, Lake Travis, part of the Highland Lakes chain, is currently dropping at an unprecedented rate. As our area’s only source for raw water, this means everyone needs to carefully reconsider and make every effort to reduce their own water use throughout the remainder of the drought (and beyond).
Where is this water NOT going?
- City of Lakeway medians, golf courses, and various other public spaces use recycled water for irrigation (treated wastewater that cannot be returned to the lakes). Homes around the Live Oak Golf Course and along the Airpark also have the option to connect to this system. They have different watering restrictions.
- Downstream interruptible agriculture users have been cut off since last year second crop in accordance with the LCRA’s current Water Management Plan. Lakeway MUD is a customer of LCRA and must follow their Firm Water Curtailment Plan. For more information, visit: www.lcra.org/news/news-releases/lcra-urges-everyone-to-use-water-wisely.
So what are the biggest users of water in our area?
- Evaporation: from the lake, but also from pools, fountains, etc. Use a pool cover every time yours is not in use. LCRA offers Lakeway MUD customers rebates of 50% of the total cost, up to $600 per residential property, for new pool filters and covers as well as irrigation evaluations, retrofitting or replacing irrigation system equipment, aeration, compost and mulch, and soil testing. For information, visit: www.lcra.org/water/watersmart/rebates.
- Attempting to maintain a green grass in a drought is the biggest use of our treated tap water. If you have large areas of grass that serve no recreational value, we urge you to start making plans to switch it to a drought-tolerant alternative such as landscaping utilizing native plants (we love San Antonio’s Plant By Number guide for easy landscaping options: www.gardenstylesanantonio.com/plantbynumber). Worried about your HOA? The Texas legislature unanimously passed the “xeriscaping law” in 2013 to assure that Texans living under HOAs can install drought-resistant landscaping or water-conserving turf. The 2013 statute has been codified at Texas Property Code section 202.007 available here: https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PR/htm/PR.202.htm
- Water leaks, unattended hoses, and inefficient irrigation systems are also big causes of unnecessary water loss. Utilize your customizable WaterSmart portal for access to detailed information about your household’s water use: track your hourly and daily water usage, self-identify and resolve leaks, understand where your water is being used, compare your water use to similar households, and set water use alerts. For more information, visit: www.lakewaymud.org/update/watersmart.
Drought Rates In Effect
As was announced to our customers in April, at the April 12, 2023 LMUD Board of Directors meeting, the Board approved a motion to add a Drought Rate fee structure to the LMUD Rate Order in the event Stage 3 restrictions are enacted. Stage 3 one-day per week irrigation restrictions began on September 1, 2022 (approved at the the August 10, 2022 LMUD Board of Directors meeting), with full Stage 3 restrictions enacted on August 15, 2023 per the LMUD Drought Contingency Plan trigger lake levels. Drought surcharges are intended to reduce demand immediately as a precautionary or emergency response to a temporary and severe limitation in water supplies. Customers can expect increased rates for top-3 tier water users (using above 30,000 gallons per bill cycle/every two months). LMUD customers using over 30,000 gallons in one bill cycle (2 months) will see an increase of $1 per 1,000 gallons; customers using over 50,000 gallons will see an increase of $2 per 1,000 gallons; customers using over 80,000 gallons will see an increase of $3 per 1,000 gallons; and customers using over 100,000 gallons per bill cycle will see an increase of $4 per 1,000 gallons. Customers using below 30,000 gallons (approx. 70 percent of our customer base) will see no rate increase. Impacted bills will begin with bills sent out on October 1, 2023. LMUD Customer Rates can be found here.
Thank you for caring about your water use.
LMUD Customer Service Team