From Staff Reports
WACO – With drought conditions continuing throughout the Brazos basin, the Brazos River Authority Board of Directors has voted to allow water set aside for contingency purposes to be made available to municipal, industrial, and agricultural water users that have indicated an immediate or emergency need.
The BRA’s contingency reserve was established in 2008 to set aside firm water to meet unexpected needs. As drought conditions have progressed, many water users in the basin have indicated that they do not have access to sufficient water supplies to meet their immediate needs this year. The BRA has been maintaining a water supply “waiting list” of individuals and entities that would like to contract for additional water should it become available.
“We have had a waiting list for a long time,” said BRA spokeswoman Judi Pierce.
National weather officials are saying so far 2014 is the fourth driest start to a year since weather records have been kept, dating back to the late 1800s. Possum Kingdom Lake is down 14.5 feet at 63 percent capacity, while the next lake in the BRA chain, Lake Granbury, is down nearly 11 feet sitting at 52 percent capacity. Below that, Lake Whitney is down more than 12 feet, at 59 percent capacity.
The drinking source for Mineral Wells and the area, Lake Palo Pinto, is down nearly 13 feet at 24 percent capacity with the area under Stage 3 drought conditions.
BRA's contingency supply consists of about 4,700 acre-feet of water stored within the BRA system that would be made available at the usual system rate of $65.65 per acre-foot for all users except agricultural irrigation. Water supplied to agricultural irrigation customers will be priced at the agricultural irrigation rate of $45.95 per acre-foot.
Pierce explained that BRA has allowed so many acre feet of water to sell annually. She said the BRA decided to sell of its alloted amount and kept 4,700-acre feet as an emergency supply. She said the water would come from reservoirs within its system based on the location of the customer.