ALTERNATIVES: How could the amount of water to be drawn from Lake Conroe in the future be reduced? “Alternatives” include:
- Water conservation will be an integral part of reducing the amount of water drawn fromLakeConroe. If we use less water, then we won’t have to draw as much. Since a maximum of 100,000 acre feet per year can be drawn fromLakeConroeand more water than that will be needed someday, water conservation will be with us forever. For a separate discussion of this, see “Water Conservation” below.
- Utilizing waste effluent from treatment plants for irrigation will reduce our water use. In summer months, it is estimated that 60% of our residential water use goes to irrigation (watering your yard and landscape). In the winter, that estimate is 30%. While it may be difficult to convert existing subdivisions and commercial development into users of effluent for irrigation (since the construction and infrastructure is already in place), new construction could much easier accommodate the use of effluent for irrigation by incorporating this concept into the planning stage of that development.
- Further consideration must be given to Judge Sadler’s proposal of building two new reservoirs to capture water that would otherwise be released over the dam on Lake Conroe or lost elsewhere during periods of heavy rainfall. Conceptually, these two reservoirs would capture water before it gets toLakeConroe. If Lake Conroe were not full (at the 201 feet level), then the water would be allowed to flow into Lake Conroe. If Lake Conroe were full and excess rains would be otherwise released downstream, these reservoirs would capture the water behind dams and hold it there until Lake Conroe needed it to fill the lake to the 201 feet level (normal pool elevation). Clear obstacles to this proposal include the procurement of the land for the creation of the two reservoirs (some of which would have to come from the Sam Houston National Forest) and the multitude of environmental concerns related to such a project. The cost of such a project has not yet been determined. SJRA has agreed to conduct a feasibility study of this proposal, but a study date earlier than 2015 has not been agreed to yet by SJRA. Approvals for and construction of such reservoirs would probably take a minimum of 20 to 30 years (remembering that our County’s water needs will be here forever).
- Many have suggested that an “alternative” might be building a reservoir between Lake Conroe and The Woodlands which captures all water released over the dam atLakeConroe. This “alternative” has been discounted based on the lack of a suitable site. To be cost effective and practical, this reservoir would require too much land given the lack of undeveloped land between Lake Conroe and The Woodlands.