WACO - The Brazos River Authority has informed all customers accessing water from the BRA System of reservoirs that a Stage 1 Drought Watch has been declared for the reservoir system including lakes Possum Kingdom, Granbury, Whitney, Aquilla, Limestone, Belton, Stillhouse Hollow, Granger, Georgetown Somerville and Proctor. 

The notice also applies to lakeside residential and commercial use water permit holders.

The goal of the Stage 1 Drought Watch is a voluntary reduction of five percent of the water use that would have occurred in the absence of any drought contingency measure and to raise awareness of the developing drought situation. 

The BRA has requested that customers who obtain their water supply from any BRA System reservoir consider the following actions:

• Activate their individual Drought Contingency Plan,

• Increase public education efforts on ways to reduce water use,

• Notify customers of actions being taken, and

• Any other actions appropriate in their individual situation. 

The BRA’s Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) provides for several lake level triggering criteria, based on four levels of potential drought conditions. Should Stage II triggering criteria be met, both BRA customers and the general public will be notified, and customers will be asked to reduce water consumption by ten percent or more depending on conditions at that time.  To view the full Drought Contingency Plan, click here. 

The BRA is required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to prepare a Drought Contingency Plan and to update that plan every five years.  The DCP outlines steps to ensure there is sufficient water available to meet all needs of those receiving water through the BRA during times of drought.  The BRA Board of Directors approved an updated DCP in October.  The new DCP includes four stages: Drought Watch, Warning, Emergency and Pro-rata Curtailment. Each stage is marked by trigger points measured either by a lake level or by the water storage capacity.   The System’s Stage 1 is triggered when the combined storage capacity reaches 1,514,536 acre-feet (af). 

The purpose of the Stage 1 Drought Watch is to alert the public of the current drought situation and promote careful use of water. Should the current drought conditions continue, it is likely that a Stage 2-Drought Warning will be issued early in 2012. Stage 2 is triggered when the combined storage capacity reaches 1,140,639 acre-feet.

Should the reservoir system reach Stage 2 triggering criteria, Drought Warning Conditions are initiated and a 10 percent or more reduction in water use is recommended for both Authority customers and the general public. 

The Authority continually monitors weather forecasts, streamflow and lake levels throughout the Brazos River basin. While not all reservoirs have reached trigger levels as laid out in the DCP, the Authority asks that everyone keep in mind the extreme conditions are affecting the majority of the state and conservation is recommended for all areas. For information on water conservation, visit www.brazos.org/conservation.asp.