New drought restrictions headline LCRA meeting

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Our drought shows no signs of letting up, so Wednesday the Lower Colorado River Authority plans to make it tougher for downstream customers to get water.

After a KXAN Investigation last month, the LCRA is cracking down on people stealing water from the highland lakes. Now, KXAN Investigator Brian Collister is digging into the LCRA management of our water supply.

Water released downstream customers between here and the coast has already been cut back, but the LCRA says it’s working with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to do more in response to the continued drought conditions.

This all comes at a time when our reservoirs at Lakes Buchanan and Travis, which supply drinking water to more than one million people here in Central Texas, are down to just 37 percent of their capacity.

LCRA board members heard from customers Monday who oppose and support the revisions which will further increase the trigger levels when water is cut off for interruptible customers like rice farmers.

“This latest iteration is apparently a culmination of successive limitations for water resources that will eliminate rice farming in the lower counties,” rice farmer Haskell Simon told the board.

If the LCRA board approves the revisions tomorrow, the new water management plan must go back to the TCEQ for more public comment before final approval.

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