| |

You’re Invited: Drought Planning Meeting


In preparation for another hot summer through a persistent drought, Lakeway MUD will host a watering restrictions update planning meeting for the public on Tuesday, March 26 and Thursday, April 4, 2024 from 7 – 8 p.m. at the Lakeway Activity Center located at 105 Cross Creek. This will be a chance for the public and LMUD customers to get an update on current and future water use restrictions. After a brief presentation, attendees will be offered an opportunity to ask questions and give feedback before final decisions are made on the new Drought Contingency Plan. These meetings will not be recorded so we encourage you to attend. Seating is limited. The same information will be presented at both meetings.

The biggest change in the Plan is the possibility of moving to a restriction of no automatic irrigation at a combined storage level (lake levels of Lakes Buchanan and Lake Travis, the two water supply reservoirs in the Highland Lakes system) of 750,000 acre-feet; the current Plan accounts for this change at 600,000 acre-feet. The current combined storage level, according to LCRA’s River Operations Report, is at about 848,000 acre-feet (Buchannan at 47% full and Lake Travis at 39% full). Assuming an insignificant amount of rainfall in the right areas between now and this summer, with an increase in evaporation (this past summer’s highest user) and an increase in irrigation, we anticipate reaching the new trigger level and implementing no automatic irrigation restrictions by late summer.

LMUD customers have been under 1-day per week irrigation restrictions, on an assigned day, since September 1, 2022 while some of the other local water utilities only recently moved to this restriction for their service area. One of the goals with the new drought plan update is to have all local water providers implement the same, or similar, irrigation restrictions to minimize confusion and help slow down the rate of decreasing lake levels. Plan updates are required to include compliance with the LCRA Board of Directors’ decision to amendment their Drought Contingency Plan requiring limiting irrigation of ornamental landscapes to no more than once per week when the combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis drops below 900,000 acre-feet.

On average, the EPA estimates 30 – 60% of residential water is used to irrigate lawns. While local water utilities are separate from the City of Lakeway, City government has recognized the need to make policy changes that accommodate a cultural change towards minimizing the percent of non-functional grass that makes up traditional landscaping at homes in our area. Last year, Lakeway City Council approved several ordinances related to building and development services, including  the use of integrated water management, described as “an integrated approach to managing water which includes landscaping with preferred plants, the green infrastructure approach to rainwater capture and management, and greywater systems.” LCRA has also begun plans to include the removal of turf grass to their rebate offerings, which are available to LMUD customers. Since the evaporation from pools is also a large cause for water waste in our area, pool covers will also be required. LCRA already offers pool cover rebates. (see resources below)

A summary of the proposed Plan updates can be found below. Current enforcement of these restrictions is focused on accounts suspected of irrigating more than once per week. As lake levels decrease and we get closer to summer, LMUD customers can expect an increase in enforcement of all water use restrictions as well as an increase in penalty fees (a change from $200 to $500 for first offenses and $500 to $1,000 for second offenses). We encourage LMUD customers to utilize their WaterSmart portal to stay aware of their household water use (see resources below for details), ensure our customer service team has your updated contact information on file for notifications, and routinely check that their automatic irrigation system is operating as efficiently as possible while considering plans for a more water-wise landscaping option.


Proposed Allowances
ActivityStage 1Stage 2Stage 3Stage 4
LCRA Firm Water Customer Required Demand Reduction Goal10%20%25%30%
Combined storage levels of Lakes Buchanan and Travis according to LCRA River Operations Reportat or above 45%below 45%at or below 38%at or below 30%
at or above 1.1M AFat or below 900,000 AFat or below 750,000 AFat or below 600,000 AF
Required: Prompt Repair of Leaks & Plumbing Line Breaks, Operation of Efficient Irrigation Systems, Prevention of Water Runoff into Street
Automatic Irrigation (inground, timed drip/soaker, unattended hose-end sprinkler)2-Days per Week on Designated Days1-Day per Week on Designated DayXX
Hand-Held Watering (manually-operated hose, inground, drip/soaker, faucet-filled container)For Trees, Foundation, Planting Beds Only
Vehicle & Power Washing (use of hose-end spray nozzle with working trigger shut-off or refillable container only)Commercial Services OnlyFor Public Health Purposes Only
Operation of Outdoor Water Features, Events or Activities (fountains, splash pads, misting systems, water slides, temporary pools)Recirculating System OnlyX
Additional Automatic Irrigation of Newly Installed LandscapingBy Approved VarianceBy Approved VarianceXX
Pool/Pond Installation/Refilling (pool cover required to help prevent evaporation when not in use)By Approved VarianceRefill to Maintenance Level OnlyRefill to Maintenance Level Only

These restrictions do not apply to the use of recycled water. See individual contracts for details.