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Travis County commissioners taking a closer look at water supply

The commissioners want to make sure residents have enough drinking water in the future.

TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas — Leaders around Central Texas say we need to take water conservation more seriously before it's too late. Now Travis County commissioners are taking a closer look at the area's water supplies.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is responsible for providing a reliable water source to Central Texans by monitoring the usage of Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan, two water reservoirs in the Highland Lake system.

The Central Texas Water Coalition (CTWC) is an organization that focuses on protecting the water supply in the Highland Lakes. According to Community Impact, CTWC data shows the intake of water into the lakes is reaching historic lows and we're seeing extended drought in the Austin area.

"You don't see the flaws in a plan until you are in a bad spot. We're in a bad spot," CTWC President Jo Karr Tedder told Travis County commissioners. "So, now is the time to address the issues that need to be addressed."

Community Impact reports that the Travis County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a resolution to send a letter to the LCRA, asking it to re-examine its water management plan to account for extended drought conditions and population growth. 

Tedder told the commissioners that the LCRA's current plan for water conservation and relying on weather patterns that has worked for years is not sustainable moving forward.

"That thing about, 'Oh, this is just the way it works in Texas, we do drought and we flood, we do drought then we flood' – well, that was the way that it was in the past. But that's not what your climatologists are saying should be happening now," Tedder said.

Climatologists from Texas A&M report rising temperatures are threatening Travis County's access to water. Population growth is also having an effect because more people need access to the water supply.

Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea said there are more things that can be done to conserve water, including using wastewater instead of drinking water for air conditioning.

And Travis County leaders aren't the only ones thinking about water conservation. The Leander City Council has hired a conservation program coordinator whose top priority is working with the Public Works Department to check on high-usage accounts. 

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