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2013-01-17

LCRA board votes to cut lake water to farmers

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LCRA's Board of Directors, noting the record-breaking drought conditions gripping the region, has agreed that Highland Lakes water should be withheld from most farmers this year if water supply conditions don't improve by March 1.
The Board of Directors voted unanimously to seek emergency drought relief at a special meeting Jan. 8. The relief must be approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality before it is final.
LCRA staff recommended the measures the Board approved to protect LCRA's municipal and industrial customers during the prolonged drought gripping the lower Colorado River basin. The amount of water flowing into the Highland Lakes, called inflows, was the lowest on record in 2011, and the fifth lowest on record in 2012. In fact, five of the 10 lowest years on record for inflows have occurred since 2006. Lakes Travis and Buchanan, the region's water supply reservoirs, currently are about 41 percent full, holding about 826,000 acre-feet of water.
The drought relief LCRA is seeking is similar to the relief TCEQ granted in 2011 that led to most downstream farmers going without Highland Lakes water in 2012. If approved, the new drought relief would cut off Highland Lakes water to most farmers unless the combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis is at or above 850,000 acre-feet on March 1, 2013.