After a long day working outside or when you are simply in need of refreshment, nothing feels better than pouring yourself a cold glass of water. Or sometimes, you grab a bottle of water when you are on the go. But where does this water come from?
This week celebrates National Drinking Water Week, taking place from May 1-7, to focus on educating and being grateful for the access to drinkable water. The American Water Works Association has organized Drinking Water Week since 1988 and serves as a reminder that we depend on water to live. We could not bathe, cook, wash clothes, or drink without it. The week reiterates that water professionals and organizations work daily to ensure water is “There When You Need It.”
“Tap water plays an integral role in meeting our daily health, hygiene and hydration needs,” said American Water Works Association CEO David LaFrance. “Water sector professionals, the infrastructure they work to design, create and maintain and the treatment process all work in harmony to ensure safe tap water is ‘There When You Need It.’”
To commemorate the week, water utilities, water organizations, government entities, environmental advocates, schools and others throughout the country and state are encouraging consumers to learn more about the importance of water services and water infrastructure, especially in times of crisis.
And thanks to the hard work of the employees of the Brazos River Authority, water is available to those who need it within the Brazos River basin. The BRA is responsible for providing water to municipalities, industry, agriculture, and mining within the Brazos basin through its water supply reservoirs.
The BRA water supply system includes 11 reservoirs scattered across the 42,000-square-mile river basin. Three of these man-made lakes are owned and operated by the BRA, while the other eight are owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The BRA’s reservoirs - Possum Kingdom Lake, Lake Granbury and Lake Limestone - were built for water supply, and when full, the lake level is near the top of each dam. The BRA currently holds water rights issued by the State of Texas for a System of reservoirs, including the proposed reservoir Allens Creek and its System Operation Permit. As a wholesale water provider, the Brazos River Authority makes water available to municipalities, water districts, water supply corporations, agricultural users, irrigators and more via water supply contracts.
The BRA also operates two pipeline systems to transport water from reservoirs to areas where it is needed. The Williamson County Regional Raw Water Line links Lake Stillhouse Hollow in Bell County and Lake Georgetown in Williamson County. The East Williamson County Water Transmission Line moves water supply from Lake Granger to a potable water treatment plant.
Through these contracts, water is supplied to those within the basin who depend on it, especially during drought. When there is not enough rain to supply the reservoirs, and dry conditions expand across the state, it becomes a fine balancing act of providing water supply to those who need it, maintaining a healthy river environment and hoping that more rain comes to help fill the reservoirs.
Currently, Stage 1 Drought Watch is in effect for most reservoirs and reservoir systems within the BRA Water Supply System, except for Lake Granger and Lake Somerville. Cities, industry, agriculture, and mining groups that receive water from these reservoirs are asked to implement their drought contingency plans and reduce usage by 5%.
Drought affects every single household, so it is crucial that the Brazos River Authority water supply system work to keep its reservoirs as full as possible so water is there to access when needed. That is why the BRA was established—to ensure water gets to the part of the basin that needs it the most, whether that is releasing water from a reservoir to go downstream or using water pipelines to move the water.
The BRA operates the Sandy Creek Water Treatment Plant under contract with the city of
Leander. The BRA owns and operates the East Williamson County Regional Water System adjacent to Lake Granger, which serves the city of Taylor, Jonah Water Special Utility District,
and other customers in Williamson County.
But how does all of this affect you and your family? Well, if you reside within the Brazos River basin, you depend on the water sources of the Brazos River basin to survive. You can find out who supplies your water through the Public Utility Commission map—just zoom into your area of residence and click to see who provides water to your home!
Today and every day, remember to celebrate our access to clean water. Especially during this time of drought, we can all celebrate by conserving water when we can, cleaning up after ourselves to avoid littering into our nearby water sources and teaching others about the importance of water in our lives.
We also thank those throughout the state of Texas who work every day to ensure that the state has enough water for today, tomorrow and the years to come.