Two problems with two different Lubbock water sources could have city leaders asking people to cut back on water use as soon as this April.
Right now contractors from the Lake Alan Henry project are predicting at least a two month delay. Last week, Lake Meredith's governing body voted not to pump water from the near-dry lake in 2012.
The lake, just north of Amarillo, has been a source of Lubbock's water for decades until recently when it was only used during peak usage times in summer months.
City leaders thought Meredith would eventually reach low levels, and that's why they wanted Lake Alan Henry to start adding to the Hub City's water supply this May. If the expected delays occur, Lubbockites may only be able to water their lawns once a week when summer starts, according to the city's Chief Operations Operator Marsha Reed.
"Lake Meredith is pretty much on its last legs as far as being a water source for us in Lubbock," Reed said.
According to Reed, Lake Alan Henry isn't expected to be ready to supply Lubbock water until mid-summer.
"Our contractor is running a little bit behind on the treatment plant," said Reed.
Reed says they'll likely ask city council to go into stage 2 of the city's drought contingency plan.
"What we're looking at is probably implementing stage 2 of our drought restrictions that will restrict water use to once a week," Reed said.
According to water utilities director Aubrey Spear, Lubbock hasn't been in stage 2 in about half a decade. Spear said the Hub City has been in Stage 1 since 2006.
On the city's website the restrictions state that landscape irrigation can occur only once per week, pools and Jacuzzi-type pools may not be refilled or drained, and water may not be used to wash down hard surfaced areas.
Until Lake Alan Henry's pipeline is complete, Lubbock will only use groundwater from wells in Bailey and Roberts Counties.
"Our biggest concern for next summer is the fact we'll be running all groundwater," Reed said.
Reed says because of limited water sources, conservation will be key.
"Any kind of outages in those well fields produced by thunderstorms or any other reason is going to cause us an issue next summer until we can get Lake Alan Henry on," said Reed.
Reed says they'll likely ask the council to make a decision at the beginning of next year so people can have time to plan how to treat their yards. Reed says the water rates won't change.
"The rates have been established by city council as part of the budget process and they will remain same until someone adopts a different budget," Reed said.
Copyright 2011 KCBD NewsChannel 11