The Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1 changed irrigation rates after expressed concern over the possibility of a second consecutive extreme drought this summer.
Water policy changes across the board could effect property and business owners around Lake Brownwood.
Last year, Lake Brownwood dropped to a scary level.
"That was the most drastic level decline we've had since the lake was built," said District General Manager, Dennis Spinks.
The drought contingency plan in place was apparently not adequate enough for the drought Brown County suffered in 2011.
The lake dropped more than 15 below the spillway.
So the county is bringing on changes in hopes of preparing for the possibility of another 2011.
They've increased restrictions by adding two more categories. It doesn't stop at stage 3 anymore. Now there's a stage four and five.
Here's how they break down:
Stage 1 now calls for a 5% reduction in use.
Stage 2: 15% reduction
Stage 3: 30% reduction
Stage 4: 50% reduction
Stage 5: Rationing could be ordered.
Irrigation rates have also gone up.
Irrigation rates have also gone up to $26/acre-foot and for interrupt-able lines $43/acre-foot.
Over the years however, the actual cost of that water has been $184/acre-foot considering all the maintenance required. The county has been losing money.
But they said now, they're working towards getting people to use more efficient systems which can save them money. The county said is could potentially save 50%.
It's a lot of changes and a lot of numbers that could scare customers.
That's why one of Brownwood's trusty civil servants is trying to have their back.
Brownwood Mayor, Stephen Hayes said, "From the City's standpoint, I feel the need to protect the individual city citizen and make sure that we're not paying for more than we ought to be paying for."
Mayor Haynes is all for the changes though, pushing for a community wide change in conservation efforts and beliefs.
However, the changes don't stop at the contingency plan and irrigation rates.
In the past, users of Lake Brownwood water have been able to procure water at no charge, with no contract and it's been un-metered. But now, users will have to pay, per acre-foot and be under contract.
It will also be metered.
The county is trying to account for all of the water that is coming out of the lake.
But that comes at a cost.
There are somewhere between 1,000 to 1,500 customers of the Brown County Water Improvement District No. 1. They county will provide a meter to each. These meters cost anywhere between $500 to $700.
We've done the math. That will cost the county $500,000 to just over one million dollars.
That's only the county though, the usage changes will impact businesses around the lake because they've gotten it free in the past.
The Hideout Club and King Point's Cove Resort butts right up to the lake and has used the water.
Hideout Golf Club General Manager, Mike Lowry said they don't use as much water as you might think.
But they are a golf course. Despite a top of the line computer system which regulates every sprinkler head, and every drop of water that goes through the irrigation system, it's still a lot of water, in turn, costing the course money, a lot of money.
"We're looking at between 8 and 16 thousand dollars," said Lowry.
It's a catch 22 for the golf course though.
To decrease usage, keeping more water in the lake, the club has to pay for water.
But if they don't pay for water, it will increase usage, dropping lake levels.
"If the lake goes down to where we don't get the visitors to the lake, then I lose out on green fees and stuff," said Lowry. "Then it could hurt me real bad."
The hope is to increase lake levels. If this happens, despite the added cost, it will benefit the golf course.
"I think it's a good thing," said Lowry.