Breckenridge Texan

BRA puts PK Lake water customers under Stage 1 Drought Watch

BRA puts PK Lake water customers under Stage 1 Drought Watch
June 27
13:04 2018

The Brazos River Authority has declared a Stage 1 Drought Watch in affect for customers accessing water from lakes Possum Kingdom, Granbury and Whitney.

The drought watch technically affects the more than 1,400 customers living in Stephens County who get their water through the Stephens Regional Special Utility District. However, due to a situation involving overflowing evaporation ponds at the processing plant, the SRSUD customers have been under a Stage 3 Drought Contingency Plan since January 2016.

According to Leshia Brewster, the SRSUD general manager, customers have been asked to reduce their water usage until the evaporation ponds are back under control. Once the engineer determines that SRSUD customers can stop following the Stage 3 plan, they will be put under the Stage 1 Drought Watch issued by the BRA.

The BRA’s drought watch is the result of the drier than normal conditions in this portion of the Brazos River basin and is a response to drought trigger levels established by the BRA’s Drought Contingency Plan.

One of the trigger points for these reservoirs, all located on the main stem of the Brazos River, is an index rating equal or less than -2 on the Palmer Hydrologic Drought Index (PHDI). The PHDI takes into consideration soil moisture, precipitation, reservoir and groundwater levels to rate the impact of long-term drought. The most recent monthly PHDI that was published in early June indicates that the three reservoirs reached the -2 trigger point.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the eastern half of Stephens County falls in the “Abnormally Dry” category. The Climate Prediction Center shows forecasts for higher than normal temperatures and lower than normal precipitation chances in upcoming weeks, leading to a prediction for likely drought development in this area.

The National Weather Service forecasts high temperatures at or above 100 degrees for the next seven days with the only chance of rain being a 20 percent chance on Sunday.

On Wednesday morning, June 27, the Texas Water Development Board shows Possum Kingdom Lake to be 93.8 percent full, while Hubbard Creek Lake is 79.5 percent full.

The goal of the Stage 1 Drought Watch is a voluntary reduction of five percent of the water use that would have occurred in the absence of any drought contingency measure, as well as to raise awareness of the developing drought situation.

Those receiving water from the reservoirs include the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Somervell County and municipalities including the City of Granbury, Possum Kingdom Water Supply Company, and Johnson County, Parker County and Stephens County Special Utility Districts.

The BRA’s Drought Contingency Plan provides for several lake level triggering criteria, based on four stages of potential drought conditions. Should Stage II triggering criteria be met, both customers and the general public will be notified. Customers will be asked to reduce water consumption by 10 percent or more depending on conditions at that time. To view the full Drought Contingency Plan, click For more information on the Palmer Drought Index, go to

Because the SRSUD customers are under the Stage 3 plan, they are asked to observe water use restrictions for reducing demand are as follows:

  • Irrigation of landscaped areas is absolutely prohibited.
  • Use of water to wash any motor vehicle, motorbike, boat, trailer, airplane or other vehicle is absolutely prohibited.
  • The filling, refilling, or adding to any indoor or outdoor swimming pools, wading pools, or Jacuzzi-type pools is prohibited.
  • Operation of any ornamental fountain or pond for aesthetic or scenic purposes is prohibited except where necessary to support aquatic life and where such fountains or ponds are equipped with a recirculation system.
  • Use of water from hydrants shall be limited to fire fighting, related activities, or other activities necessary to maintain public health, safety, and welfare, except that use of water from designated fire hydrants for construction purposes may be allowed under special permit from Stephens Regional SUD.
  • All restaurants are requested to serve water only upon request of the patron.
  • Livestock watering tanks shall be filled by hand in lieu of automatic or float valves.
  • The following uses of water are defined as non-essential and should be refrained from:
    • Wash down of any sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, tennis courts, or other hard-surfaced areas;
    • Use of water to wash down buildings or structures for purposes other than immediate fire protection;
    • Use of water for dust control;
    • Flushing gutters or permitting water to run or accumulate in any gutter or street; and
    • Failure to repair a controllable leak(s) within a reasonable period after having been given notice directing the repair of such leak.

No application for new, additional, expanded, or increased-in-size water service connections, meters, service lines, pipeline extension, mains, or water service facilities of any kind shall be approved, and time limits for approval of such applications are hereby suspended for such time as this drought response state or a higher-numbered stage shall be in effect.

Brewster said that when the drought stage is changed for SRSUD customers, they will be notified by a phone call and by information posted on the the website For more information, call the SRSUD at 254-559-6180.

Story by Carla McKeown and Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan

Photo of Possum Kingdom Lake courtesy of the Brazos River Authority

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