Friday, March 02, 2012 1:20 PM
LCRA Cutting Water to Farmers
The Lower Colorado River authority (LCRA), which manages Lake Travis, Lake Buchanan, the rest of the Highlands, and the Colorado River basin all the way to the Gulf coast, announced today that it is cutting 100% of the water normally released downstream for farmers. The farmers use approximately 40% of the water in the lakes and with the continuing drought they simply can not afford to do this until rains restore the lakes to normal levels.
The photo to the left is of the Hurst Creek arm of Lake Travis, not the main body. I don't want readers to think we're out of water because we are not. However, the last time I checked, Lakes Travis and Buchanan, the largest of the Central Texas Highland Lakes, were at just 39% of capacity.
So what can owners of waterfront property do right now? I can think of a number of things. Dock maintenance, extending boat ramps and steps lower and inspecting all electrical lines and connections that are normally below the water.
When will the lakes return to normal? I have no idea, but I do read the Farmer's almanac. That little book is calling for widespread, heavy rain in late April from spring storms and again in late August from a tropical system. A tropical event could drop 10 or more inches over a broad area.
Most of the heavy recent rain has fallen to the east of Interstate 35, which has been beneficial for farmers and ranchers to the east. What the Highland Lakes need is a lot of rain to the west in the river basins that flow into Lake Buchanan and eventually into Lake Travis.
I applaud the LCRA for making this move and I think the only real opposition will come from farmers. However, the industrial, commercial and residential needs for water outweigh the needs of the farmers downstream.
Update March 30, 2012 - thanks to some great rain events Lake Travis has come up around 14 feet from the low it hit last November. However, it is still quite low and Austin and points west need all the rain we can get.
Interested in Lake Travis waterfront property? Call me at 512-293-2422.