Lake Brownwood is in many ways our goose that lays golden eggs. The lake is our prized resource that distinguishes us from other West Texas communities who are subject to recurring water quality and supply problems. We all need to be concerned with the lake's status and be sure its economic and quality of life benefits are not damaged by excessive pumping.

On Nov. 12, the Brown County Water Improvement District will consider their Drought Contingency Plan. They will determine at what lake level each conservation measure ? such as restrictions on outdoor watering and irrigation ? will be triggered. The plan is available at the District office for public review; it represents an ongoing effort to balance the needs of municipal, industrial and agricultural users for affordable water.

The current drought plan requires Stage 3 conservation measures when the lake falls to 11 feet below spillway. Among other measures, Stage 3 limits municipal customers to once weekly outdoor watering. The current plan got us through the 2011 summer without requiring more drastic limits. However, the lake remains low, and until it is nearer spillway level, outgoing aggressive conservation efforts are appropriate. We remain a drought-prone area. As a precaution, it makes sense to continue the current Stage 3 Drought contingency Plan restrictions until the lake is within five feet of the spillway for three months.

The Board is receptive to public input in these matters.


Chris Stephens