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Water Central Texas-Conservation

Water runs over a small damn on the Blanco River in Blanco State Park.

General Information Flooding 

Central Texas is prone to droughts just as much as it is prone to flash floods. This makes conservation topics and data valuable, so jurisdictions can better manage and protect their water supplies and usage. The Texas Water Development Board’s Water Data for Texas is updated daily to show current reservoir levels and current water wells in Texas. CAPCOG has also compiled outreach messaging on drought and conservation from state agencies and local governments. 

Water Levels

Monitoring current water levels, surface water and groundwater, is important in understanding drought conditions. During drought times, reservoir levels may decline rapidly while many aquifers decline every year regardless of drought. Droughts cause aquifers levels to decline quickly. 

> Access TWDB’s Water Data for Texas: Current Reservoirs Levels.
> Access TWDB’s Water Data for Texas: Current Groundwater Well Levels.

Map is updated monthly. Data from the U.S Drought Monitor.
> See a current map of drought coverage.

Drought and Conservation Outreach Tools

As a result of declining surface water and groundwater during a drought, many cities and water systems will initiate water conservation measures. Below is a list of measures and outreach items used to discuss drought and promote water conservation.

Austin Water: Water Saving Tips TWDB Conservation Resources
TCEQ Conservation Resources TDA The Water Source
TAMU Agrilife Extension Drought Resources

Conservation Case Studies

Lago Vista updates pipes, modifies storage tanks to conserve

A waterpipe gets placed into the ground next to a roadway in Lago Vista.Through a study in 2009, the City of Lago Vista determined that 35 percent of the water sent through their distribution system was lost due to poor mixing in ground storage tanks, dead-end waterlines, and leaking pipes. Since the city has a low population density, the water age for residental water in storage tanks is higher than normal, increasing the abundance of Trihalomethanes present in the water. To keep the Trihalomethanes below the EPA-mandated maximum contaminant level, the city was flushing their seven ground storage tanks on a regular basis. This task required the city to buy potable drinking water, empty the storage tanks and refill them with water, wasting thousands of gallons each time.

A city task force sought an innovative solution to the water loss problem and identified strategies to fix it. One of the solutions was for Lago Vista to replace their old, leaky pipes to flexible, leak-free high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipes. The city replaced its entire water system with the HDPE pipes. Additionally, Lago Vista added fused pipe mixers into the ground storage tanks, allowing for constant turnover in the tanks. They also pioneered the use of splash pumps in the ground storage tanks to remove the Trihalomethanes, which results in a 61 percent decrease in the chemical. These ground storage tank improvements now allow the tanks to safely go without flushing for months.

With the new technique used in the Lago Vista ground storage tanks and the replacement of old pipes with HDPE pipes, the city’s water distribution system now has a 12 percent loss. Lago Vista no longer purchases water to flush their ground storage tanks, resulting in about 6.4 acre-feet of water conserved annually and a $8,500 annual savings in water and labor costs. Lago Vista won a 2019 Texas Environmental Excellence Award from the TCEQ for their ground storage tank improvement project.
(Posted: 3-7-19)

Horseshoe Bay, Conservation Efforts

Horseshoe Bay’s Water Conservation Program focuses on reducing the use of irrigation systems. Irrigation systems, which are supposed to be efficient, consume more than half the water used by the city’s residents each year. The city finds homeowners are not knowledgeable or sufficiently engaged in operating their systems, so it encourages residents to understand their automatic controllers by checking their systems at least twice a month. The city also encourages monthly checks for broken heads and other problems, and it will audit residential systems for free.

Horseshoe Bay also promotes that residents plant drought resistant gardens using native Central Texas plants. Such plants are drought tolerant, require less watering and have many other environmental benefits. Horseshoe Bay City Hall’s gardens showcase a drought tolerant landscaping.

 

> Read more about Horseshoe Bay’s conservation efforts