Lake Businesses Continue to Suffer From Drought
By Tyler Pratt
State lawmakers met today to discuss how the drought is affecting the economy in Central Texas. Travis County Commissioner Karen Huber recounted the stories of several Lake Travis business owners.
“One gas station owner says he has shut three of his four gas stations,” Huber said. “Another business owner who owns several business on the lake says he is raiding his kids’ college funds for two years. My partners and I have cashed in every IRA we have tucked away. And we are running out of options.”
When full, Lake Travis helps contribute billions in property value and more than $200 million in revenue for state and local governments. But as lake levels continue to decline, the area loses millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs.
Jo Karr Tedder of the Central Texas Water Coalition also spoke today. She said that because tourism and recreation are such important Texas industries, their popularity overshadows severe drought situation.
“It’s very hard to get the point across that the lakes are in dire straits,” Tedder said. “The reservoir lakes are in a crisis situation.”
Tedder added that while Central Texas has seen a lot of rain recently; it has done little to improve lake levels. The Lower Colorado River Authority says Lakes Travis and Buchanan are only 44 percent full.