Lake Brownwood is currently at 1413.27 msl or 11.73 feet below spillway and sits at 51.43 percent capacity, said BCWID General Manager Dennis Spinks Wednesday afternoon. He stated that district is still in Stage 3 of the Drought Contingency Plan and that restrictions still need to be followed closely.
The trigger point for an increase of restrictions to Stage 4 is at 1411 msl and the lake is still 2.3 feet from that point, according to Spinks.
"We, at this point 1 year ago, were 2 feet lower than we are right now," said Spinks. "2 feet is a lot of water."
Spinks explained that the lake is losing 0.1 foot of water every two days currently and at that rate of decline, it will be about mid-September before restrictions increase if the area has no rain until then. When asked if the extra hot days this week have been an increased worry, Spinks explained that evaporation is worse during windy days rather than hot days.
"The heat isn't as much of a worry as the wind. At least the wind hasn't been blowing at 20-30 mph," said Spinks. "Wind has more of an effect on evaporation than this heat does."
He explained that as the lake level decreases, the evaporation rates increase due to less area of water surface.
Spinks stated that residents are reminded to conserve water and to obey current restrictions. Brownwood and Early residents are currently restricted to outdoor watering at certain times one day per week with odd number addresses on Mondays and even number addresses on Tuesdays (CLICK HERE for current restrictions).
"We are still at a 30 percent reduction of use, but Monday and Tuesday the water treatment plant saw a usage of 8.5 million gallons a day," said Spinks. "The treatment plant had no problems meeting demand but without restrictions would have seen 10 million gallons a day demand, which is near capacity."
He explained that for now, the old West Plant is still operating but will soon be taken down for rehabilitation. Because it is still operating, water needs are able to be met. The plant's filters need to be maintained and therefore are not working at their highest efficiency, Spinks said.
Spinks stated that as a whole, residents seem to be following the guidelines of the current Stage 3 water restrictions, although there are still some who are watering outside of these restrictions.
"There are a lot of people concerned about their trees, bushes and other landscaping, but most people are following the restrictions and conserving," said Spinks. "There are still some who are watering outside of those restrictions and if we all did that we would hit that 10 million (gallon) capacity. I'm still concerned, but not as worried as I was at this time last year."
Spinks stated that forecasts do not show any rain in the near future but hopefully the coming months will provide rain.
"September to October, hopefully we will get some rain and gradually get the lake back up although it may not fill up," said Spinks.
He stated that he was hopeful for rain in the coming days, as a tropical depression formed in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere around 800 miles southeast of the Windward Islands, that is currently projected in a promising direction. If it follows these projections, it may hit the Gulf of Mexico and bring some rain to Texas. The next 10 days show above 100 days, and Thursday is forecast to hit a 108 high which makes it difficult to keep a yard alive, according to Spinks.
Although most of the area is under Stage 3 restrictions, Spinks pointed out that areas such as Thunderbird Bay and Tamarack Mountain have had restrictions of no outdoor watering for over a year now because their water plant's capacity is not currently big enough to meet demands other than household use.
Spinks encouraged residents to consider planting grasses and shrubs that are more drought resistant for a more attractive yard during this time of drought.
"This might be a good time to evaluate what you have in your yard. Many residences have St. Augustine grass which takes more water," said Spinks. "Come up with different types of landscaping that take less water, such as Bermuda or Buffalo grass which is native to this area."