Safeguard Lake Travis

RECEIVED Tue., Feb. 24, 2009

Dear Editor,
    During the drought of 2006, Lower Colorado River Authority General Manager Joe Beal said: "That lake is going to go empty the night before it rains. I mean empty. If this will have an impact on you, you better plan for it. It could be happening this year." Again we are in an "exceptional" drought category. Lake Travis not only supplies our water, but it cools our power plants. San Antonio became serious about conservation with its limited water supply. Austin's answer should not be going to the bottom of Lake Travis with its deep-water intake.
    Not only Water Treatment Plant No. 4 is planned for Lake Travis; the cities of Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Leander (Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority) want to start construction of their Lake Travis water-supply project, another deep-water intake [“Dumping the Water Pump,” News, Feb. 20]. Round Rock's usage is more than 200 gallons per capita per day. The best the Round Rock council can do is implement a five-month peak-usage rate structure that targets consumption more than 215 GPCD. Conservation programs could save Round Rock and Lake Travis 30% of its water needs.
    San Antonio’s conservation plans cost $400 an acre-foot of water. What are the costs per acre-foot on these two $400 million water supply projects? What is the cost of driving out 2222 to the Oasis to be met with 92 acres of treatment-plant facilities? What revenue could that site have produced to the city of Austin?
    Lake Travis is the single most important economic and environmental driving engine of Central Texas. Stop the dependency on excess water usage, and give Austin’s residents a chance.
Judy Graci
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