Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Spicewood Beach is Days Away from Running Out of Water

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

A weed grows out of the dry cracked bed of O.C. Fisher Lake in July. The drought has taken a severe toll on Texas lakes and rivers.

Monday we told you about Spicewood Beach, a community in Burnet County that was going to run out of water within weeks. Today, despite several inches of rain in the forecast, an alert was sent out saying that moment may be just days away.

There are 500 water meters in the Spicewood Beach Regional Water System. Most of them are for homes, but at least one of them belongs to Spicewood Elementary School. Despite the fact that the golf course community sits right next to the Colorado River between Lakes Lyndon B Johnson and Travis, it gets all of its water from groundwater wells. And they are dangerously close to running dry.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), which provides water to the community, released an alert today saying that overnight, well levels have dropped 1.3 feet, after dropping over a foot since last week. “With the overnight drop in water levels, LCRA estimates the well may remain functional for only a few more days,” the LCRA said in the alert. The community has been placed under Stage 4 water restrictions, which means only essential use of water is allowed, and no outdoor watering is permitted.

What’s to blame for the dying wells?

“It is all a function of the drought,” LCRA spokesperson Clara Tuma told StateImpact Texas today. Tuma noted that while today’s rain may help a little, it takes time for rainwater to make its way into wells from aquifers. It can sometimes take weeks, but in the case of the wells at Spicewood Beach, it takes about four to five days for rainwater to show up in the wells.

But those wells may only have a few more days of water left. What to do? For now, the LCRA is getting ready to truck in water. Tuma said the LCRA is “committed to providing water for essential needs.” The agency is also looking at “drilling new wells, deepening the existing wells or treating water from the lake.

Here’s a map of Spicewood Beach:

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