Water Levels Holding Steady in Blanco but TWC Warns of Systemwide Concerns

water plant
Texas Water Company sources its water from Canyon Lake Reservoir and groundwater from the Trinity Aquifer. These sources are often blended together in the distribution system. File image.

Water levels are holding steady in the City of Blanco, which was forced to implement Stage 6 drought restrictions Friday after a small pipe break in Texas Water Company’s (TWC) system nearly drained the town’s water supplies.

The city is now in Stage 5 drought contingency, but is asking residential, commercial, wholesale, and industrial customers to avoid all outdoor water usage.

“Folks, this drought has hit everyone hard,” an unnamed city official posted on Facebook Monday. “The river and lake levels are very low. Our recent rains barely made an impact. While it is a hardship, please stop all outdoor water use. We are all in this together, and if we do this, we should be able to make it through this temporary situation without having to resort to more drastic measures.”

Friday, Blanco Mayor Pro Tem Rodney Thraikill described pipe breaks in TWC’s system as a “frequent occurrence.”

Larry Jackson, TWC’s director of Customer Service & Communication, said the utility has seen a “vast reduction” in the number of pipe breaks since it completed repairs on a transmission line on FM 306.

“We used to have a main transmission line running along FM 306 that was prone to breaks and subsequent leaks,” he said. “This issue was directly attributable to adding water storage tanks that supplied the north side of Canyon Lake and City of Blanco, including down Highway 281 to Bulverde and Spring Branch.

“Additionally, we added more storage in Mystic Shores and added more capability in Bulverde, putting us in much greater shape in terms of production and storage,” he said.

But things could still go downhill as the drought worsens.

In a statement Monday, TWC warned customers that decreased production and high demand for grass watering and landscape irrigation have resulted in low water storage levels throughout its system.

The company operates three surface water treatment plants (SWTP) in Canyon Lake. The smallest, which draws water from Canyon Reservoir, is offline due to low water levels. The largest SWTP is partially offline due to ongoing filtration-system repairs.

Still, water storage facilities were able to meet TWC’s water obligations to provide safe drinking water to customers, including the City of Blanco, on Friday and Saturday, Jackson said.

But as recently as December 2022, Comal County officials were confident in TWC’s ability to keep up with the area’s explosive growth.

County Engineer Tom Hornseth told county commissioners they could use TWC’s updated availability report to approve subdivisions that are connecting to utilities during the next three years.

In that report, TWC described its water supply as diverse.

“The water supply is shown to be in excess of demand over the next 20 years,” the utility said. “This excess will allow for future growth and provide redundancy during emergency conditions. TWC (then Canyon Lake Water Service Company) has the experience and resources to meet the projected demand within its service area over the next 20 years.”

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