AUSTIN (KXAN) - The lingering drought that's draining the Central Texas water supply and threatening the economy is not going to go away soon, a panel of experts said Wednesday.
“I think it’s important they understand how precious water is and we need to value it and we need to do everything we can to conserve water," said Becky Motal, general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority. "But we also have to be mindful this is a growing state we’re going to have to as a state get together and develop new supplies of water and work together to do that.”
On Nov. 5, voters across Texas will decide on Proposition 6 which would allow the state to use $2 billion
A new Texas Lyceum Poll shows 49 to 36 percent of voters support the piece support the proposition.
The engage breakfast happens once a month with a panel made up of the key players on certain issues. Heather Harward, founder and executive director of H2O4Texas, Greg Meszaros, Director of Austin Water and Becky Motal, general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority answered questions and talked about the future of the Austin water supply.
"We're in a very intense drought one of the worst droughts Central Texas has ever experienced and it's more than just a one-year drought, it's a multi-year drought," said Meszaros. "We're all going to have to get an eye together and conserve water and work as a community to work through this drought until our lakes can refill."
Currently, Austin has Stage 2 water restrictions, which means people can only water once a week. Meszaros said if the lake levels fall below 600,000 acre feet a storage, they'll have to go to Stage 3, which means once a week with shorter times. He also said a Stage 4 may be possible if the trend continues through the fall.
At the breakfast, which was at the Long Center, he said Austinites have set an all time low when it comes to water usage in terms of gallons per capita per day. He said it's great people are stepping up to the plate and conserving, but it's still not enough as the population continues the grow and the clouds lack to drop rain.
"Essentially our entire water supply is from the Colorado River system, the river itself and Highland Lakes which store water for times of drought and because we’ve been in this long term drought the Highland Lakes are about down to a third of their storage and we have to be extremely cautious to stretch that water as long as we can until we break out of this drought and the lakes refill," said Meszaros.
The LCRA said the state could benefit from Proposition 6.
"I think the benefit of the state recognizing that it needs to be the leader in developing these water supplies is providing a mechanisms for entities that develop water to borrow money at very cheap rates to implement some of the plans," said Motal.
She said whether certain entities are using groundwater, piping, or building new off channel reservoirs like the LCRA, it cost money to do that.
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