If the water coming out of your faucet looks more like lemonade or tea than it does water, it's discoloration that is caused by sedimentation and dissolved minerals - and it has not affected the water quality.

That's the word from Dennis Spinks, general manager of the Brown County Water Improvement District. Spinks said officials with the water district and the City of Brownwood have been swamped with calls from people who are concerned that the water might not be safe to drink.

"The stained color is cosmetic-only," Spinks said. "The quality of the water is excellent." He said the water quality is tested daily at the water treatment plant and by the time the water goes through the filters and is treated, there is no dropoff in quality.

The cause of the discoloration isn't known for certain, Spinks said, but a possible cause is that the water improvement district switched from the upper intake, which is at 1,411 or 1,412 feet elevation, to a lower intake that is about 25 feet below the water surface. Sedimentation and minerals settle to lower levels of the lake, and the discoloration was noticed when the lower intake started being used about two weeks ago, Spinks said.

"What is causing the water to be stained is in no way related to humans," Spinks said.

Spinks said the lake will likely fall to the 1,410-foot level in a matter of days. That's the level that triggers Stage 3 restrictions in drought contingency plans, but Spinks said the water district likely won't implement State 3 until after the Sept. 13 meeting of the water district board.

He said the district wants to have time to analyze data from Freeze and Nichols engineering on the amount of water that is leaving the lake and the amount that remains.