As drought worsens in region, Bastrop eyes future water options

BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — People living in Bastrop will get a chance to hear the city’s options Wednesday on how they’ll get water in the future.

Regardless of the choice, it will cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

GOING IN-DEPTH // Central Texas Growth
Population growth is one reason for the push for new water sources in Bastrop County.

  • Census figures show the county grew more than 2 percent from 2010 to 2013.
  • That’s a lot less than Travis County where census figures show the growth rate is nearly 10 percent.
  • Some of the fastest growth in Central Texas is happening in Williamson County. The county has seen more than 11 percent growth since 2010.

Mowing the lawn has always been a chose for Buck Goertz, but keeping the grass green on his side of the fence for 50 years has always been a challenge.

“We need to find new sources, but we need to cut down on our use,” said Goertz. “We waste as much water as we use.”

The City of Bastrop has seen the water shortage play out in Austin and now city manager Michael Talbot says they have to plan for their future.

“Water is absolutely critical to the well being of a sustainable community,” said Talbot. “Water conservation, how we utilize our supplies of water, how we maintain our supplies.”

City officials have three options: digging wells, pumping water from nearby land, or signing an agreement with the Lower Colorado River Authority. Each of the options carry a big price tag.

“Over a…30 to 40 year period, we could probably end up spending anywhere from $15 million to $20 million,” said Talbot.

And with water prices expected to rise in the coming years, Goertz’s days trying to keep his lawn green could cost a little extra.

“I’m not worried about myself,” he said. “I’m old enough it ain’t going to make no difference. I’m not going to see all this. But my kids and grandkids, that’s the ones I’m concerned about.

The city currently has an output of 2,900 gallons of water per minute, but that demand is expected to grow almost 50 percent in the next four years.

The meeting to discuss all options will be held Wednseday evening at the Bastrop Convention Center.

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