WINDERMERE OAKS, Texas (KXAN) – The drought dilemma has a small community on the northern edge of Lake Travis on a timetable to run out of water, if it does not continue flowing in the Colorado River.
The Lower Colorado River Authority releases water from Lake Buchanan for communities south along the river. The lake is already down about 23 feet from its December average.
Water will continue to be moved from Buchanan Dam as long as it does not drop another 30 feet. LCRA predicts that won’t happen before the summer of 2013.
“This used to be Lake Travis, yeah,” said Pat Mulligan, as he looked across a sandy field.
Mulligan owns one of the 250 homes in the lakeside community of Windermere Oaks .
“That’s all the water that’s flowing into Austin right now,” he said, pointing out a few white caps, rippling on top of the stream of water. “Right through that little gap there.”
As president of the community’s water supply corporation, Mulligan has had to help make a $10,000 decision as he watched Lake Travis turn to a trickle.
“We’re building a skimmer barge, and we’re going to float that over the hole, he said. “We expect to pump water for another six months.”
The barge and pump they have now has only 3 feet of water left. Farther out, they have located a spot for a new barge that is 11 feet deep, with enough water to last six months if there is no flow.
Right now, Windermere Oaks is under Stage 3 water restrictions. That means no watering lawns with a sprinkler and no washing cars. If it gets any worse and the community runs out of water in the lake, it goes up to Stage 4.
That means trucking in water, which would triple water rates.
“Certainly our concern is having enough water to supply to our residents,” said Larry Black, the water plant’s operator in Windermere Oaks.
If it comes to that point, Black said residents will have a 2,000-gallon limit per month per customer.
At this time last year, the community used about 50,000 gallons a day.
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