TEXAS — Growing up in Central Texas, Douglas Cathey learned quickly that if you’re in the land maintenance industry, you need to always understand the root of the problem.

“You must adapt to the times. The days of watering your grass, making it green, mowing once a week, using tens of thousands of gallons a week — those days are gone,” Cathey said.

With Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan currently sitting at 42% capacity due to a continuing drought, the owner of Cathey’s Lawn Service says business is still good, but their requests are different these days.

“Because of the drought, it’s killing the scrubs,” Cathey said. “The drought is killing the trees, and so we plant those trees that hold up better.” 

Jon Hoffman, executive vice president of water for the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), says it’s been about a decade since the region experienced this kind of scarcity. Almost every resident or business pulling water from this source is on a once-a-week watering restriction.

“Conservation is the key,” Hofmann said. “Conservation is the key and individual decisions are what makes the difference for us.” 

“There are things we can and can’t control,” Hofmann said. “We can’t control how much rain we get or water that comes into the reservoir and replenishes it or how much evaporation occurs. We can control our discretionary water use.” 

For this professional green thumb, along with his sons Ty and Shane, that means helping Texans get ahead of the heat by finding cool alternatives to these unfavorable conditions.

“HOAs are picky about how people treat their yards, but I think eventually like other states such as Arizona, it’s a xeriscape, you have to save the water,” Cathey said.