LCRA Considers Lowering Lake Austin for the First Time in History

August 31, 2013by Brian Talley

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Lower Colorado River Authority is “floating” the idea of lowering Lake Austin, for the first time in its 74 year history – when that section of the Colorado River was formed into a lake in 1939.

According to news reports, the LCRA would allow the water to lower up to four feet through the natural evaporation process and theoretically rise again with rains. It is said this will help the further west (and much depleted) Lake Travis segment by not pulling water from its reserves in order to maintain Lake Austin’s constant water level.

LCRA: “Among the options being considered is temporarily lowering Lake Austin 2 to 4 feet by holding water in Lake Travis that would normally be sent to Lake Austin until it reaches the desired level. The level of Lake Austin would fall during this period as customers such as the City of Austin continue to use water from the lake and as evaporation occurs.”

Read more from the LCRA.

Central Texas is in a severe drought but has not reached its worst drought status since record-keeping began. The worst is considered a decade-long drought in the 1950’s that ultimately was relieved by several months of heavy rain. As Austin moves into the latter part of 2013, rain forecasters predict normal to heavy rainfall totals.

This idea of lowering Lake Austin already has generated a great deal of controversy. A Save Lake Austin Facebook page was formed immediately following the announcement, and media attention on the subject is growing.

Perspective: One might wonder if the idea of lowering the lake was intentionally mentioned to gauge public reaction. Given the amount of high dollar real estate on the lake and that so many “power players” live there, it likely will be a lively conversation should talks of this nature continue in a more formalized fashion …

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