The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Conservation District realized it was moving into uncharted territory when drought conditions already were critical at the beginning of the summer – the hottest and driest time of year. In 2009 Central Texas was suffering one of the worst droughts in 50 years, and the peak season for water usage was just starting. The district’s board of directors felt a response was needed before conditions worsened – to an extreme drought, or even emergency conditions. New district rules were proposed in case those conditions materialized.
The Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Groundwater Conservation asked LRPR to plan a drought awareness campaign to inform water users about the severity of the drought; how they could save water; and why new district rules were needed. The campaign kicked off with two town hall meetings, including a Q&A period facilitated by Laura Raun, and the creation of a policy advisory committee. A direct mail postcard was sent out to nearly 800 households in the district, announcing the Critical Stage Drought and explaining what residents could do to cut their water use.
The drought awareness campaign kicked off in June 2009 and succeeded in persuading water users to trim their consumption, based on groundwater permit holders meeting pumping reductions required under District rules.