Presentation Summary: 48 Years of Lakeway MUD…and Beyond

Once a week, the gentlemen of the Lakeway community are invited to attend the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club, held every Wednesday starting at 7:00am in the Lakeway Activity Center. Attendees engage in conversation while enjoying the provided beverages and light breakfast. Starting at 8:00am the group brings in a different speaker each week, presenting on a variety of topics from healthcare to education to history, proving to be educational, yet entertaining. The speakers are coordinated by Lakeway resident Tom Cain.

Lakeway Municipal Utility District’s (LMUD) General Manager Earl Foster and Finance/Administration Manager Loyd Smith as well as Board of Director Treasurer Lawrence Christian and Vice President Jerry Hietpas and Finance Committee Chairman Vince Maggio, Secretary Hal Hirsch, and Member Bill Cobb, among several others, have been longtime regular attendees at the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club. “The comradery among these men is unbreakable,” said Smith, “and I appreciate the updates we receive at these meetings each week about the activities within the community. LMUD serves Lakeway so we try to make use of any opportunity to get involved and speak with members of our community.”

“LMUD serves Lakeway so we try to make use of any opportunity to get involved and speak with members of our community.”

– Loyd Smith, Finance/Administration Manager, LMUD

At the February 5, 2020 meeting, Foster took an opportunity to be the speaker, presenting on the 48 years of LMUD’s history as well as developments for future growth. It was the first in a series of presentations that will take place throughout the year. “48 years may not seem like a milestone year, but we’re celebrating this year because of our induction into the city’s history. The Lakeway Heritage Committee is honoring us with the installation of a historical marker at our district office this month, so we’re taking the opportunity to highlight the importance of water services in our community,” he said.

Foster started the presentation with a recognition of all the people who have volunteered to serve as the president of LMUD’s Board of Directors throughout the years: twelve in total since 1972, the year LMUD was established, including current Board President, Larry Burmeier who has served since 2014. Foster pointed out that Donald Iburg, Board President from 1995 to 2004 was the first to write down LMUD’s history. An attendee at the meeting stated that his father was listed: Michael W. Wilson, who served as Board President from 1980 to 1981, highlighting that Lakeway is a community where generations continue to call home.

Foster went on to recognize LMUD’s general managers: four in total, plus one interim, including Foster who has filled the position since 2010. Both Eddie Harvill, LMUD’s first general manager, and Richard Eason held the position for 17 years: Harvill from 1972 to 1989 and Eason from 1993 to 2010. Roger Palmer held the role for four years between them from 1989 to 1993. Past and present staff, current Board members, as well as the various committee members were also recognized as having contributed to the growth and development of the critical water services in Lakeway provided by LMUD.

As the new LMUD Lakeway Historical Marker states, LMUD was one of the first MUDs in Texas and the first utility company in Lakeway. LMUD was also one of the first in the state to develop a water reuse system, an innovative approach to water conservation, initially used to irrigate Youpon Golf Course starting in 1975. The expansion of the system in 1994 to Estates of Lakeway Hills, made LMUD one of the first water providers in Texas to utilize a water reuse system in a residential area. As Foster pointed out towards the end of his presentation, this reuse system has continued to expand, saving millions of gallons of potable water from use as irrigation, to several street medians in the community, commercial properties, and a few condominium complexes. LMUD’s ongoing Out of District Wastewater (ODWW) Project will expand residential use of this recycled water to an additional 300 residential properties in a few years.

A map of LMUD’s coverage area was projected on the screen, including a definition of the utility’s “In District” versus “Out of District” customers, plus wholesale accounts. The “Out of District” area, Foster explained, was in place before LMUD was established. The area, comprising over 1,000 residential lots, is currently made up primarily of LMUD potable water only customers; the majority of the residence in the area have wastewater supported by onsite sewage facilities (OSSFs) or personal septic systems, which are regulated by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). During LMUD’s inception, so that this area didn’t carry the burden of implementing a public sewer system to the rest of Lakeway, the “Out of District” customer area was established as a non-taxable area for LMUD, unlike all “In District” customers. LMUD’s wholesale customer is primarily Water Control & Improvements District 17 (WCID17) and Travis County MUD #12, which provides water and wastewater services to the Rough Hollow neighborhood in the Lakeway area. Future plans call for expansion of residential areas in North Lakeway, which LMUD will continue to work on with WCID17 as one of their wholesale providers.

The next slides showed photos of LMUD’s expansions of water and wastewater treatment operations in the mid- to late-90s as well as underground infrastructure being constructed throughout the community. The raw water intake barge, located off Mariner, serves multiple water providers in the area and is critical to the area’s water system since Lake Travis is the only source of water for the area. Foster was lined up to show a video of zebra mussels attached to the intake line of this barge, but had some technical difficulty. These tiny, sharp mollusks are an invasive species that are an ongoing nuisance for all those who use the lake. Since their introduction to the lake in May 2017, LMUD has had to take proactive measures to ensure that the raw water intake pipes and the screens on the intake pumps remain clear of zebra mussels so the community’s water supply is not compromised.

The presentation on LMUD’s infrastructure included Lakeway’s iconic golf ball water tower, which has served as a landmark for the community since it was erected and so uniquely painted as teed-up golf ball in 1987. The front page of the Lakewaves publication in Fall 1987 featured the completion of this tower with a photo captioned “Lakeway’s landmark provides water as well as visual enjoyment.” The article gave credit to LMUD for “providing water services and an extraordinary art piece for Lakeway.”

Moving into current events, Foster talked about the proposed development of an additional effluent pond to hold additional water for the reuse system’s expansion. The wastewater treatment plant is also currently undergoing expansion to accommodate the additional demand that will be created for connecting properties to the public sewer system throughout the Out of District area as part of the ODWW Project. A slide was also shown to bring attention to the new irrigation schedule now in effect for which residents are starting to receive their reminder magnets in the mail.

This presentation was the first of many throughout the year to celebrate LMUD’s 48th year of service to the Lakeway community. The next presentation will be held March 17th at 10:30am at the Lake Travis Library. The final slide contained this information as well as a link to the events page on their website: www.LakewayMUD.org/events .