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Kyle buys water from San Marcos to keep up with growth for third year in a row

A close view of water rippling on a lake that's surrounded by trees and a bright blue sky.
Michael Minasi
KUT News
Spring Lake in San Marcos is fed by over 200 springs that flow out of the Edwards Aquifer. The aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for over 1.7 million people in Central Texas.

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Not even five months into the year, the City of Kyle is expecting it will need more water than it had been allocated for 2024.

Kyle has been struggling to keep up with water demand, and City Council members agreed to buy more from the City of San Marcos for the third year in a row on Tuesday. The San Marcos City Council and Kyle City Council voted unanimously in favor of the agreement at separate meetings. The agreement will last for the rest of the year and go through 2026.

“San Marcos has not grown as quickly as they were anticipated to grow,” Kyle Council Member Lauralee Harris said. “We have grown much more quickly than we were anticipated to grow.”

This isn’t the first water agreement between the cities

In December 2022, Kyle ran out of its annual allocated water from the Edwards Aquifer Authority and had to ask for more from San Marcos.

Then, in September of 2023, Kyle officials said the city had already used 102% of its water from the Edwards Aquifer Authority for the year. Again, the city turned to San Marcos for more.

The San Marcos City Council welcomed the water sales in previous years, with San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson noting it would be a way for the city to make a profit.

Last year, Kyle bought 310 acre-feet of water, or about 100 million gallons, from San Marcos.

Under the new agreement, Kyle can use up to 500 acre-feet, about 163 million gallons, of San Marcos' water each year for the next three years.

This will cost Kyle at least $274,000 annually. If the city reaches its water limit of 500 acre-feet, the price could climb to more than half a million dollars.

Kyle is buying in advance to meet the growing demand

Central Texas is in an ongoing drought, and water levels at the Edwards Aquifer fluctuate as a result. The aquifer is a primary source of drinking water for over 1.7 million people in the region and stretches across 11 counties.

(Not sure what an aquifer is? Here's an explainer of what they are and how they affect Texas' water supply.)

Instead of asking for water after depleting its supply, Kyle is anticipating the need for more and buying it in advance. Kyle officials said the city will need additional water this year and the following years to meet growing demand.

Water restrictions and conservation efforts still exist

The City of San Marcos has recently tapped into a few more water sources, including the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, and will add another in 2025. With these additional sources, the city felt comfortable selling water to Kyle.

Now that these two cities have this agreement, they will share water restrictions and enforcement measures.

San Marcos recently changed its water restrictions during times of drought to simplify rules for residents. The new rules mean water restrictions are based on overall water availability instead of local drought conditions. Both cities will still have to abide by any water restrictions by the Edwards Aquifer Authority if water levels dip to unhealthy levels.

But just because more water has been secured, doesn't mean Kyle and San Marcos are letting conservation fall to the wayside.

Tyler Hjorth, the director of utilities for San Marcos, said the city plans to educate residents on what these new restrictions mean, especially because restrictions have been tricky to enforce.

In Kyle, Council Member Miguel Zuniga said conservation is still a top priority.

“Even though we’re getting some water from San Marcos, we don’t remove our pedal off the reuse and recycling,” he said.

Maya Fawaz is KUT's Hays County reporter. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @mayagfawaz.
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