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Copperas Cove, Kempner residents likely to face increased water restrictions


Cove Leader-Press 


The whole of Coryell County is now under extreme drought conditions. 

Since August 2022, the City of Copperas Cove has been under voluntary Stage 1 water conservation and restrictions. 

According to the city’s drought contingency plan for Stage 1, residents should be limiting watering their yards and other landscaped areas to two days a week, between the hours of midnight and 10 a.m., and 8 p.m. to midnight.

“Outdoor water use should be limited between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m., except when a hand-held hose, a faucet-filled bucket, or a watering can of five (5) gallons or less is used.”

The goal is to achieve a five to 10 percent reduction in the city’s overall daily water demand.

The City of Copperas Cove purchases its water from Bell County Water Control Improvement District No. 1, which pulls water from both Lake Belton and Stillhouse Hollow Lakes, and in turn, sells the water to area cities. 

“With current drought conditions we anticipate the possibility of entering Stage 2 later this summer, but nothing confirmed yet,” Kevin Keller, Public Relations Director for the City of Copperas Cove, stated on Tuesday. “Stage 1 includes voluntary conservation measures to encourage the responsible use of water resources. The City encourages all residents to do their part to conserve where they can.”

So far, other cities under Stage 1 also include the cities of Belton and Killeen. The City of Lampasas initiated Stage 2 on July 11.

As of July 20, Lake Belton was 63.5 percent full, with a mean water level of 579.38 feet. Six months ago, Lake Belton was at 65.2 percent capacity. However, one year ago, Lake Belton was at 81.8 percent capacity. 

The Brazos River Authority (BRA) protects and watches the water resources of the Brazos River Basin and has five stages of its drought contingency plan. 

The trigger for Stage 2 is a level of 578.7 feet at Lake Belton, which is 0.68 feet, or about 8.16 inches lower than the lake level on Thursday. 

For Stillhouse Hollow Lake and Lake Georgetown, the Stage 2 drought warning trigger is based on overall water storage, which is 164,789 acre-feet for both bodies of water. The level at Stillhouse was 606.86 feet, and 776.90 feet at Lake Georgetown. 

As of Thursday, both reservoirs had a combined acre-footage storage of 170,132, which is 5,343 acre-feet above the Stage 2 threshold. 

Should Stage 2 triggering criteria be met, Copperas Cove will have a goal to decrease its daily water demand by 15 percent. The City itself will reduce or discontinue flushing of water mains, reduce or discontinue irrigation of public landscaped areas. However, the use of reclaimed water for non-potable purposes will be allowed.

Stage 2 limits lawn and landscape watering to once a week, with the day depending on the last digit of a resident’s street address, 0 or 1 on Monday, 2 or 3 on Tuesday, 4 or 5 on Wednesday, 6 or 7 on Thursday, 8 or 9 on Friday. As an added measure for Stage 2, washing vehicles is also limited to those same days, as well as limiting filling of pools, and watering golf courses, to those designated days. Vehicle washing should be done with a bucket and hose with a shutoff nozzle that allows for quick rinsing. Vehicle washing at a commercial car wash is permissible at any time.

During Stage 2, restaurants are prohibited from serving water unless patrons request it. 

Likewise, nonessential water uses are prohibited to include washing sidewalks, driveways, washing buildings, using water for dust control, and flushing gutters.

Some areas, however, have already entered Stage 3 conservation and restrictions.

Neighboring Kempner Water Supply Corporation customers have been urged to follow Stage 3 restrictions so they do not run out of water. KWSC provides water to some residents who live just outside Copperas Cove, as well as Kempner and the City of Lampasas. 

On July 7, the corporation’s General Manager, Bruce Sorenson, announced that Stillhouse Lake, its only source of water, is at a “critically low level” and is dropping one inch every two days. 

“When the water level reaches 605 feet elevation, water production at our plant will slow down and (at) 604 feet, production will stop. We are installing an extension in August that will give us a lower intake level and potentially buy us some time. Please be aware that we are not seeing much conservation of water in our system. If the lake level drops to 606 feet elevation, we will be forced to implement stage IV Water Conservation restrictions which are stricter and will not allow you to use your irrigation systems or fill a pool, only hand watering with a bucket will be authorized. Conservation enforcement will include fines for excessive use,” Sorenson said.

The City of Georgetown issued emergency Stage 3 through Sept. 4 for the western side of the city in certain areas.

Copperas Cove Leader Press

2210 U.S. 190
Copperas Cove, TX 76522
Phone:(254) 547-4207