We represent the area between Lake Travis and Lake Austin from Mansfield Dam to Steiner Ranch Boulevard. If you live or do business here, please support us by becoming a member. We are tackling issues different than those dealt with by your HOA and we are dependent on your membership to be successful.
SRNA Water Primary contacts: SRNA Advisory Committee chair: Erhard Sudermann; SRNA Services Committee chair: Brian Clifton; SRNA chairman: Brian Thompto
Questions or suggestions about water policy? Contact us.
Our Water Providers
Fresh water and sewage services in the greater Steiner Ranch area come from WCID 17. WCID is a water control and improvement district under Texas code. They also service areas West of Mansfield Dam including Lakeway and Bee Caves. For those living in the Taylor Morrison mater-planned “Steiner Ranch” development – you are also part of a defined area water district within WCID17. The Steiner defined area carries separate bonds and separate taxes to pay for water infrastructure as part of the development.
WCID17 gets its water from LCRA – the Lower Colorado River Authority – who administers water rights for the Highland lakes including our nearby Lake Travis, as well as all the way down to the Gulf of Mexico. LCRA has “hard” commitments to customers such as WCID17 and City of Austin, and has “soft” commitments to provide water for agricultural and other uses. For example, hard customers typically pay $151 an acre-foot, whereas soft customers such as rice farmers pay only $6 an acre-foot.
Water Challenges In Our Area
In recent years, drought has hit our area hard and has challenged LCRA’s ability to provide water to all its customers. This has forced LCRA to make important trade-offs and choices between its hard and soft customers. In recent years, during the drought LCRA chose to release water for rice farmers downstream – emptying a good portion of Lake Travis and other Highland Lakes. These releases have left out area lakes significantly below normal levels, impacting negatively lake related businesses and property values. While LCRA cut off water from rice farmers in 2012, they were poised to release again in 2013, but under pressure reversed this decision on Jan 8, 2013 and agreed to withhold water.
SRNA joins other area interests including Central Texas Water Coalition to support a responsible water management policy from LCRA that does not risk the long term viability and vitality of central Texas. A responsible policy for releasing water to rice farmers would focus on releasing only excess water where lake levels are high. Further we support LCRA’s recent efforts to look at providing rice farmers with additional collection points for water in the Colorado water shed further down stream.
The Central Texas Water Coalition is fighting for water rights for our area: check out their web site to learn more.