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Texas community trucks in water to stem shortage

By Nick Valencia, CNN
updated 4:35 AM EST, Tue January 31, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Spicewood Beach may need supplemental water for several months, official says
  • The community's water supply is "dangerously low"
  • The town is under a Stage 4 water emergency

(CNN) -- A small central Texas community has begun trucking in thousands of gallons of water to avoid running dry during the state's historic drought, a water official said.

Two trucks filled with about 8,000 gallons of water reached Spicewood Beach Monday afternoon and the precious liquid was immediately pumped into community water tanks.

"The community could be trucking for two weeks or two months, it just depends on the weather," according to Lower Colorado River Association spokeswoman Clara Tuma. "It's raining right now, though."

The town is under a Stage 4 water emergency -- the most severe level -- and it won't ease until the town gets more rain over an extended period of time.

"The water supply is dangerously low" in the community of 1,100 about 35 miles northwest of Austin, Tuma said. The town sits on Lake Travis and is popular among retirees and people who own lake houses or second homes.

The water level in the Spicewood well has leveled out since the water emergency was declared last week.

"All outdoor watering is now prohibited and customers are strongly urged to cut out all nonessential use of water immediately," the company said in a news release on January 24.

Officials believe conservation by the community has helped. Residents are only supposed to be using water for bathing, cooking and drinking.

Besides trucking in water, the LCRA is looking at other alternatives for water, including digging another well, Tuma said. The Spicewood Beach Regional Water System is served by a single well after three other wells in the community were shut down in recent years.

"We're going to run out of water," resident Joe Barberra told CNN affiliate YNN Austin. "Something should have been done a long time ago ... They waited too long. Now we're in this predicament."

The dry spell began in 2010 and is the worst the state has seen since 1895, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has said.

CNN's Sara Pratley contributed to this report.

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