FIVE AND TEN YEAR GOALS
Hurst Creek Municipal Utility District was created by
the Texas Water Commission in 1979 to provide water, sewer
and drainage services to approximately 700 acres in western
Travis County, Texas. As a political subdivision of the
State of Texas, the District is retail, non-profit public
utility with the rights, powers and responsibilities as
outlined in Chapter 54 of the Texas Water Code.
In 2003 the Texas Legislature mandated the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the successor agency to
the Texas Water Commission, to adopt rules requiring all
public water utilities appropriating more than 1,000 acre
feet of surface water to develop water conservation plans
with five and ten year goals.
This document examines the District’s water
usage for the past five years and proposes five and ten year
goals for conservation.
Description of the
The Water System
Drinking Water Production
Historical Usage Patterns
Projected Usage Trends
Irrigation of The Hills Golf Course
Historical Usage Patterns
Projected Usage Trends
Past Conservation Efforts
Proposed Five and Ten Year
Conservation Plan Implementation
Summary of Utility
System Connection Types
Five Year Historic
Annual Golf Course
Irrigation Volumes 1997-2004
Adopting Water Conservation Plan
OF THE PLANNING AREA
Hurst Creek MUD’s primary service area is a residential
subdivision, The Hills of Lakeway, originally platted in
1979 in the City of Austin’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.
The subdivision consists of approximately 1,042 single
family lots, 158 condo lots, and a small commercial tract
fronting Lohman’s Crossing Road. The commercial tract is
within the City of Lakeway and contains an office complex,
an assisted living center and a skilled nursing center
which is currently under construction. A general location
map and a detailed map of the water distribution system
are attached as Appendix Items 1 and 2.
Since the creation of the District, a municipality, the
Village of The Hills, has been incorporated within the
original District boundaries. Additionally, The District
has annexed some 34 acres to include the Emmaus Catholic
Church and adjacent grounds.
The residential portion of the District is nearing build
out, with only 95 vacant single family home (SFH) lots
and 3 vacant condo lots remaining.
The majority of the existing homes are moderately large,
with the average appraised value of a homestead at $357,193
in 2004, the most recent year available. Most homes are
heavily landscaped and lawn sprinkler irrigation systems
are required by the Property Owner Association Architectural
Rules. There are five condominium regimes within the District,
with an average of 15 units each. Appendix 3 lists the
various connection types.
Most streets within the District are privately owned by
the Property Owners Association, and access is restricted
by a system of computer-controlled traffic gates; only
residents and their guests are capable of free ingress.
A private security firm oversees the manned gate.
The District purchases raw water from Lake Travis pursuant
to a Water Sale Contract and Conveyance Agreement. The
raw water is pumped through an 11,000 foot pipeline and
treated by the District’s two water treatment plants, each
with a capacity of 1 MGD. Treated water is stored in two
ground storage tanks of 150,000 gallons each, and a 500,000
gallon elevated tower.
A network of water mains ranging in size from 16” to 6”
deliver treated water to the District’s customers.
system map is included in Appendix 2.
All connections are metered, with meter sizes ranging
from ¾” to 2”. The District monitors meter age carefully,
and regularly replaces meters after they register more
than 3 million gallons, or after ten years of service.
The system is financed primarily via ad valorem property
taxes levied on all property within the District, and to
a lesser extent, from service revenues. All facilities
were designed by registered professional engineers, approved
by the appropriate State agencies, and maintained by licensed
operators. Hurst Creek MUD received recognition by the
US Environmental Protection Agency as the best managed
and operated water utility of its size in the five state
EPA Region 6.
Usage patterns for the previous five years are shown on
A close examination of these patterns reveals the following:
Monthly and daily per connection use is high, averaging
20,504 gallons per month, or 683 gallons per day over the
five year period.
There is no consistent pattern of rising or falling usage
over the five year period. Peak usage occurred in 2000,
with 25,827 gallons per month, and was lowest in 2004,
with 18,359 gallons. The most likely explanation of this
phenomena is that the majority of water usage is for lawn
irrigation, which is dependent on rainfall trends. An analysis
of the summer to winter usage ratio in a representative
year indicates that summer use is about 2.6 times the volume
used in the winter.
Water accountability is excellent, ranging from 96.8%
to 88.2%, with an average accountability of 93.9%. This
high accountability is the result of a wholesale change-out
of all service lines in the system several years ago, an
active water meter replacement program, and a diligent
meter reading program.
As the District is nearly built-out, usage patterns are
anticipated to remain similar to the previous five years.
The District’s water sale contract, treatment and distribution
systems were designed to accommodate relatively high per
capita water use, and the upscale economic character of
the service area is anticipated to continue. Because a
major portion of the District’s funding is from ad valorem
taxes, it will be politically difficult to affect usage
patterns by raising utility rates high enough to discourage
OF THE HILLS GOLF COURSE
Due to the legislative ban on wastewater discharges in
the Highland Lakes region, golf course irrigation with
wastewater effluent goes hand-in-glove with operation of
a public water system. The District has a number of contracts
with the Hills Golf Course allowing for the disposal of
treated wastewater effluent. Conversely, storage of wastewater
effluent is essential for operation of the course during
the hot, dry summer months, when area lakes are low, drinking
water demand is high and the LCRA’s water conservation
plans may curtail the use of scarce lake water on golf
Hurst Creek MUD’s irrigation infrastructure includes a
500,000 gallon per day wastewater treatment plant, a 210,000
gallon surge tank, a 12” diameter effluent force main,
a 50 million gallon effluent holding pond, and a sophisticated
computer-controlled pumping and valving system. The actual
irrigation distribution system belongs to the owner of
the golf course.
The irrigation system provides for the application to
the golf course of effluent stored in the 50 MG pond, or
alternately, water from Hurst Creek may be used. However,
state law forbids the introduction of the effluent into
the creek. Effluent and creek irrigation volumes are separately
The contracts between the District and golf course stipulate
that the District will pump water from Lake Travis, as
part of its water sale contract with the LCRA, to maintain
water levels in Hurst Creek. The golf course may take suction
from the creek, but must pay the District for the water
withdrawn; in turn, the District must pay the LCRA for
creek water used.
In practice, the golf course requires up to 800,000 gallons
per day during hot, dry summer days, but virtually none
at all during the winter. Therefore, it is essential that
the District and the golf course work closely together
to manage effluent pond levels; the pond cannot be allowed
to exceed its rated capacity of 50 MG and it is equally
undesirable to empty the pond before the end of summer,
and run short of irrigation supply.
Effluent irrigation typically takes place at night, when
the course is closed to play, and large volumes are applied
– up to 1,800 gallons per minute –by a network of sprinkler
stations spaced throughout the course.
To operate properly, an irrigation distribution system
must be kept pressurized at all times, even when sprinkling
is not taking place. Additionally, landscape maintenance
personnel use irrigation water during the day, but not
in sufficient volumes to justify running the District’s
250 hp effluent pumps. Because the golf course irrigation
system is kept pressurized with water from Hurst Creek
on a continuing basis, and effluent from the pond is supplied
only during major irrigation cycles, there is an appreciable
quantity of creek water used on the golf course in between
the major irrigation events. This creek water must be replenished
with Lake Travis water, purchased by the District from
the LCRA. This lake water usage represents the most
feasible opportunity for water conservation efforts. In
2005 this total was 36.02 MG. Replacement of this
36 MG of lake water with effluent is the primary goal for
the District’s conservation efforts.
Golf course irrigation demand, like drinking
water, is highly weather dependent. A roughly constant
flow of wastewater must be stored and apportioned onto
the golf course so that the storage pond neither overflows
nor goes dry. Over the past twenty years golf course irrigation
demand has ranged from about 39 MG during a wet year to
161 MG during a dry year. Average annual use appears to
be around 97 MG. Refer to Appendix 5 for historical usage.
As 100% of all wastewater effluent produced by the District
must be irrigated on the golf course or adjacent landscaping,
effluent disposal must be the guiding principle of reuse.
Current wastewater production is around 200,000 gallons
per day, and slightly more than this volume will be produced
at full build-out. Additionally, the District is contractually
obligated to store and dispose of a maximum of 100,000
gallons per day of treated effluent from WCID#17’s wastewater
treatment plant. Total effluent production will exceed
the average annual golf course irrigation demand of 264,527
gallons per day, and it is obvious that additional irrigable
areas will be required in the future. However, in actuality,
averages are somewhat meaningless. In a dry year there
will not be enough effluent and we will require water from
Lake Travis to meet golf course demand; in a wet year we
will be urging the golf course to irrigate in excess of
their actual needs, to legally dispose of the necessary
volume of effluent.
As described above, the District’s service area is composed
of relatively large, affluent homes with extensive landscaping.
In 2002 the District implemented an increasing block rate
structure, wherein larger volumes of water are billed at
a higher rate. There was no noticeable effect on overall
water demand; the customers merely paid more and kept on
watering their expensively-landscaped lawns.
The District periodically sends out flyers and posts notices
on the Village website requesting voluntary watering scheduling
during dry summer months. This scheduling has had the effect
of leveling out the peak demand period during daily lawn
irrigation, but has had little effect on overall water
More successful have been the changes made in effluent
reuse. Construction of the 50 MG effluent holding pond
has reduced the usage of Lake Travis water for golf course
irrigation, and refinements to effluent reuse practices
appear to hold the most promise at achieving additional
AND TEN YEAR CONSERVATION GOALS
Certain changes in the irrigation infrastructure will
have beneficial effects on reducing the volumes of Lake
Travis water required for the golf course. These changes
include modifying the pumping facilities at the effluent
holding pond along with the computer control system to
allow constant maintenance of irrigation system pressure
with effluent, instead of creek/lake water. Certain other
modifications will be required
to the golf course irrigation distribution system to insure
continued separation of the effluent from creek water.
Improvements in conservation of treated water will be
more difficult to achieve and will result in relatively
minor savings in water use.
Five year Goal – replace with effluent
10% of the lake water pumped to Hurst Creek for golf course
irrigation. Using the numbers for 2005, for example, this
effort would have conserved about 3.6 million gallons of
Lake Travis water. On the treated water side, it would
be difficult to improve on water accountability (which
averages over 90% accountability for the past five years),
so our goal is to maintain this high level of accountability.
Regarding per capita water use, the District proposes to
reduce by 5% the annual use per connection, primarily via
customer education and increasing the rates for higher
levels of consumption.
Ten Year Goal – replace with effluent
25% of the lake water pumped to Hurst Creek for golf course
irrigation. Based on 2005 numbers, this would conserve
about 9 million gallons of Lake Travis water annually.
Regarding treated water use, the District proposes to reduce
by 10% the annual use per connection, again by customer
education and increasing rates for higher monthly consumption.
The Board of Directors will consider adopting this plan
with a formal resolution (see appendix 6) and implement
it through direction to the General Manager to initiate
the necessary modifications to the effluent delivery facilities.
Also, the District Manager will provide educational materials
to customers urging water conservation in lawn watering.
An annual report describing the implementation,
status and effectiveness of the water conservation plan
will be submitted to the Texas Water Development Board.
The General Manager and District Engineer will review the
plan annually, and make recommendations to the District’s
Board of Directors for any necessary amendments or modifications.