Even with the wet Memorial Day weekend we have had (some reports say Lake Travis is up a foot), Central Texas continues to experience dangerous drought conditions for the seventh year in a row.
According to the LCRA; Lakes Travis and Buchanan, which provide drinking water to more than a million people, and water to industries, businesses and the environment throughout the lower Colorado River basin, are currently only at 36 percent of capacity.
Clearly, water conservation is at a critical stage.
Therefore, the city of Lakeway has issued a moratorium on new swimming pool permits effective immediately.
A KVUE.com article quoted Devin Monk, Lakeway’s communication coordinator as saying that the city will review incoming permits on a case by case basis, but that the city is asking everyone to hold off on putting in a pool and consider the impact pools have on the water supply.
The article continued on to say that even though Lakeway doesn’t require permits for above ground pools, permission is necessary to fill them.
Pool permits will not be issued until the water supply returns to normal. Violators of this order could incur fines of up to $2,000 per day per infraction.
In addition to the pool permit moratorium, the West Travis County Public Utility Agency Board of Directors, meeting in Bee Cave on May 15, unanimously passed a 20 percent drought surcharge for both wholesale and retail customers across all rate classes effective July 2014.
In the BeeCaveBee, WTCPUA rate consultant Nelisa Heddin was quoted, “Residents have control over the net impact to them [of the surcharge] because they have control over their consumption.”
The report also stated that the surcharge affects only the volumetric rate—the portion of a residential bill that is based on consumption—and not the minimum rate.
Additionally, the Central Texas Water Coalition which was developed by the LCRA in May of 2010 to advocate and preserve the Highland Lakes role as an irreplaceable water source has expressed that the Lower Colorado River basin lacks the historical average of inflows and does not have adequate reserves to support the area during this continued drought.
Education and conservation are key to protecting our water resources.
According to the CTWC, water levels also have grave economic and fiscal impact. When Lake Travis water levels are below 660 feet, visitations decline and businesses diminish. Local government is affected as well with decreasing revenues from sales tax, hotel tax and alcohol sales.
With all of these added worries and restrictions, we thought it would be useful to provide the water conservation checklist found on the www.austintexas.gov that will help us preserve the water we do have and keep waste to a bare minimum.
- Check your toilet for leaks. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If it appears in the bowl without flushing, you have a leak that needs repair.
- Replace older toilets with WaterSense® labeled high-efficiency models that use only 1.28 gallons per flush or consider installing a dual flush model that can use even less.
- Take shorter showers—try for less than 5 minutes. If you take a bath, fill the tub half full.
- Install water-saving aerators on your bathroom faucets and water-saving showerheads that use 2.5 gallons per minute or less.
- Turn off the water while shaving, brushing your teeth, lathering in the shower, and shampooing or conditioning your hair.
- Fix leaky or dripping faucets promptly. Plumbing leaks account for approximately 14 percent of water consumed in the home.
- Run your dishwasher and clothes washer with only full loads. Scrape food from plates instead of rinsing them before washing.
- Chill drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the faucet to cool water.
- Replace your clothes washer with a qualifying water-saving model.
- Choose drought-tolerant plants when landscaping, and group plants with similar water needs together (hydrozoning). Add compost or mulch around trees and plants.
- Thoroughly check your irrigation system each spring when you first turn it on and repair any leaks as soon as possible. Schedule a free irrigation system evaluation if needed.
- Clean your driveway or sidewalk with a broom, not a hose.
- Water your lawn only on your assigned day and adjust sprinklers so that only your lawn is being watered.
- Install a rain barrel or rainwater harvesting system to capture rainwater from your roof for use on your landscape.
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