The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is taking more time to review the Lower Colorado River Authority’s water management plan. The additional evaluation could take about a year.
The water management plan directs how the LCRA uses lakes Travis and Buchanan to meet the needs of water users. The state wants to meet with stakeholders and collect more data before approving the new plan.
The LCRA says as it put the water plan together, drought conditions got even more severe.
“There is no more important issue facing this region now than the drought, and having a plan that protects the water supply for our firm customers is critical,” LCRA General Manager Becky Motal said in a statement.
The LCRA’s first Water Management Plan was approved in 1989. It was updated in 1992, 1999 and 2010. Since the last amendment, the region has experienced severe drought conditions. Until the new plan is approved, the LCRA continues to operate under the 2010 Water Management Plan.
This year, the LCRA cut off water to most rice farmers downstream because of low lake levels. Officials say if the drought doesn’t break, they may do the same next year.
Click here to read the TCEQ's letter to the LCRA.