June 3, 2013
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Executive Director notified the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) today that the LCRA’s water management plan cannot be approved without further evaluation.
For two years, Senators Troy Fraser and Kirk Watson have been urging the LCRA to propose a water management plan requiring the LCRA to ensure that water will be available to firm users, even in times of drought. Having sent numerous letters to the LCRA, filed legislation and taken testimony to the TCEQ, the senators have continued to ask for updated water modeling and an improved plan that protects firm customers through times of drought.
“We could not be more pleased that the TCEQ has considered our request for review of the proposed plan and new modeling today,” said Senator Troy Fraser. “For the past two years, the LCRA has had emergency orders that would still be needed if the proposed plan was in place. Clearly this plan is flawed as it does not accomplish the purpose for which it is intended – protecting firm water customers during a repeat of the drought of record.”
“TCEQ’s call to further review this critical regional water plan just underscores the concerns that Central Texans have been airing for two years,” Senator Watson said. “In terms of its intensity, this is a historic drought. A water management plan that truly protects the citizens and economy of Central Texas must take these incredibly dry conditions into account. I appreciate that TCEQ will now do their own modeling and collect the data that will drive a sound and protective plan.”
Over the next 10 months, TCEQ plans to conduct data collection, analysis and modeling about conditions in the Lower Colorado River Basin and Central Texas. There also will be at least one stakeholder meeting. In the end, the agency hopes to have a plan that balances diverse interests across the basin and the region, and that reflects the impact of the recent severe drought conditions.