lcra http://kut.org en A New Proposal For a Coal-Free Austin Could End the City's LCRA Partnership http://kut.org/post/new-proposal-coal-free-austin-could-end-citys-lcra-partnership <p>Today, <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/content/austin-generation-resource-planning-task-force">the group</a> tasked with figuring out how to wean Austin off carbon dioxide-emitting coal power is scheduled to vote on <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/document.cfm?id=212795">its recommendations</a>, and some members of that group think they &nbsp;have found a new approach to the biggest road block between Austin and a coal-free future: the <a href="http://kut.org/term/fayette-power-plant">Fayette Coal Plant</a>.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Austin Energy owns the plant along with the <a href="http://www.lcra.org/Pages/default.aspx">Lower Colorado River Authority</a>, and gets about 20 percent of its electricity from it. While selling off the plant or retiring it completely has been <a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2011/11/17/if-austin-goes-coal-free-could-the-rest-of-texas-follow/">a long held dream </a>of city officials and environmentalists, city staff has warned that it could be prohibitively expensive and legally tricky.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Previous plans to sell off that stake,&nbsp;or shut down the plant have also been opposed by the&nbsp;LCRA.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/157984891&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></span></p><p> Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:04:27 +0000 Mose Buchele 10761 at http://kut.org A New Proposal For a Coal-Free Austin Could End the City's LCRA Partnership New LCRA Team: Varied Experience, Highly Paid http://kut.org/post/new-lcra-team-varied-experience-highly-paid <p><em>Editor's note: This report comes from KUT's reporting partner, the <a href="http://www.infactdaily.com/">Austin Monitor</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The <a href="http://www.lcra.org/Pages/default.aspx">Lower Colorado River Authority</a>’s new general manager Phil Wilson received a hefty pay increase when he moved from the hot seat at the <a href="https://www.txdot.gov/">Texas Department of Transportation</a> to another hot seat at the state-created water and power authority two months ago. And his pay increase could get even heftier.</span></p><p>Wilson’s annual base salary has been set at $425,000, according to LCRA spokeswoman Clara Tuma in an email response to questions from the <em>Austin Monitor</em>. In addition, Wilson could receive a bonus of up to 25 percent of his salary, Tuma indicated. &nbsp;Wilson’s salary and any bonus are determined by LCRA’s 15 member board of directors, which hired him late last year. He took over the job on Feb. 3.</p><p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 15:34:34 +0000 Bill McCann & Jo Clifton 10077 at http://kut.org New LCRA Team: Varied Experience, Highly Paid Environmentalists Cheer Water Rate Hike, Mayors Not So Much http://kut.org/post/environmentalists-cheer-water-rate-hike-mayors-not-so-much <p>Environmentalists are giving cautious approval to a plan by the Lower Colorado River Authority to <a href="http://www.lcra.org/water/supply/Waterrates.html">raise municipal water rates by 19.5 percent</a> next year.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The increase would not affect </span><a href="http://austintexas.gov/department/water" style="line-height: 1.5;">Austin Water</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> customers, because the city-owned utility has </span><a href="http://www.lcra.org/library/media/public/docs/water/supply/lcra_austin_water_agreement07.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5;">a separate deal</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> with the </span>LCRA<span style="line-height: 1.5;">.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But it would affect people in other Central Texas cities such as Dripping Springs, Cedar Park and Leander.&nbsp;</span></p><p>“Water in Texas is very cheap and by and large," says&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Ken Kramer with the Lone Star chapter of the Sierra Club, "p</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">rice increases will, in the long term, at least have a positive impact in making us more efficient in the use of that valuable resource.”</span></p><p>But some Central Texas mayors are not enthusiastic about their constituents paying more for water, especially in some of the faster-growing Austin suburbs like Leander. That city partnered with Round Rock and Cedar Park to develop <a href="http://www.bcrua.org/">a $350 million regional water system</a> that could accommodate their growing populations.&nbsp;</p><p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 01:11:02 +0000 Nathan Bernier 9564 at http://kut.org Environmentalists Cheer Water Rate Hike, Mayors Not So Much Memo Cites Legal Hurdles for City to Get Out of Coal Plant http://kut.org/post/memo-cites-legal-hurdles-city-get-out-coal-plant <p><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;">This is an excerpt from an article written by our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the</em><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22px;">&nbsp;</span><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-size: 15px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Georgia, Times, serif; line-height: 22px;"><a href="http://www.austinmonito Thu, 09 Jan 2014 16:21:27 +0000 Bill McCann 9509 at http://kut.org Memo Cites Legal Hurdles for City to Get Out of Coal Plant Central Texas Farmers Could Lose Water Access Due to Drought http://kut.org/post/central-texas-farmers-could-lose-water-access-due-drought Half of Texas is experiencing drought conditions, and for the third year in a row, rice farmers in Central Texas may be cut off from water supplies because of severe drought.<p>The Lower Colorado River Authority has asked the state to approve emergency plans to cut water to farmers in 2014 if reservoir lakes are at less than 55 percent capacity. The lakes are currently 36 percent full.<p>Homes and businesses would also face water restrictions.<p><em><a href="http://hereandnow.wbur.org/">Here & Now&#8217;</a></em>s Jeremy Hobson gets details from <strong>Mose Buchele</strong>, energy and enviro Thu, 21 Nov 2013 22:08:40 +0000 9238 at http://kut.org Central Texas Farmers Could Lose Water Access Due to Drought A Tiny Bit of Vegetable Oil Could Save Texas Billions of Gallons of Water http://kut.org/post/tiny-bit-vegetable-oil-could-save-texas-billions-gallons-water <p>Parts of Central Texas saw as much as 12 inches of rain over the weekend. Water levels in the Highland Lakes &nbsp;rose slightly, but the storm was far from a drought-buster.</p><p>Lakes Travis and Buchanan remain only about one-third full.&nbsp;</p> Mon, 14 Oct 2013 10:30:00 +0000 Matt Largey 8918 at http://kut.org A Tiny Bit of Vegetable Oil Could Save Texas Billions of Gallons of Water Grim Milestone Looms for Lake Travis: A 50 Year Low http://kut.org/post/grim-milestone-looms-lake-travis-50-year-low <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Lake Travis could drop to a &nbsp;50-year low this weekend, possibly falling below 626.1 feet.&nbsp;</span></p><p>“When that does occur, that would be the third lowest level ever on record for Lake Travis, and the lowest since November of 1963,"&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Meteorologist Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service said. "It tells us the drought is persistent and ongoing."</span></p> Thu, 04 Jul 2013 00:18:28 +0000 Nathan Bernier 8290 at http://kut.org Grim Milestone Looms for Lake Travis: A 50 Year Low TCEQ Needs More Time to Examine LCRA Water Plan http://kut.org/post/tceq-needs-more-time-examine-lcra-water-plan <p><a href="http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/" target="_blank">The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality</a> is taking more time to review the Lower Colorado River Authority’s water management plan. The additional evaluation could take about a year.</p><p>The water management plan directs how <a href="http://www.lcra.org/" target="_blank">the LCRA</a> uses lakes Travis and Buchanan to meet the needs of water users. The state wants to meet with stakeholders and collect more data before approving the new plan.</p><p> Tue, 04 Jun 2013 15:57:25 +0000 Laura Rice & Filipa Rodrigues 7981 at http://kut.org TCEQ Needs More Time to Examine LCRA Water Plan Pumping from Lake? Get a Contract http://kut.org/post/pumping-lake-get-contract <p>The <a href="http://www.lcra.org">Lower Colorado River Authority</a> is reminding people who live along the Highland Lakes that you <a href="http://www.lcra.org/newsstory/2013/contracts_required_for_homes.html">need a contract </a>to pump water from the lakes.</p><p>The reminder comes at a time when Central Texans are starting to think about lawn care.</p><p>The LCRA wants to keep track of the water removed from the lakes and help educate people about responsible water use.&nbsp;</p><p> Sat, 13 Apr 2013 00:21:00 +0000 Trey Shaar 7351 at http://kut.org Pumping from Lake? Get a Contract Rainfall Didn't Make It to the Lakes http://kut.org/post/rainfall-didnt-make-it-lakes <p>Two days of storms that delivered about 3 inches of rain to Austin did little for the <a href="http://www.lcra.org/water/drought/index.html">levels of the lakes</a> that serve as Austin’s water supply. Lake Travis rose by less than a foot; Lake Buchanan was up slightly more than 2 inches.</p><p>Dan Yates with the <a href="http://www.lcra.org/">Lower Colorado River Authority</a> says it provided a very small bump.&nbsp;</p><p>“We need a good season of rainstorms like this that we saw yesterday and the day before... that would get us out of the trouble,” Yates said.</p> Thu, 04 Apr 2013 21:25:12 +0000 Nathan Bernier 7230 at http://kut.org Rainfall Didn't Make It to the Lakes Political Effort to Keep More Water in Highland Lakes http://kut.org/post/political-effort-keep-more-water-highland-lakes <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The agency that manages the Highland Lakes, which serves as Austin’s primary source of drinking water, would not be allowed to send water downstream to rice farmers if the lakes are less than 42 percent full, under<a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/History.aspx?LegSess=83R&amp;Bill=SB1631"> a bi-partisan proposal</a> in the state legislature.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The bill was filed by State Senators <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/kirk-watson/">Kirk Watson</a> (D-Austin) and <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/directory/troy-fraser/">Troy Fraser</a> (R-Horseshoe Bay). Watson says the <a href="http://lcra.org/">Lower Colorado River Authority</a> needs to prioritize so-called “firm” customers, such as cities and power plants, over “interruptible” customers such as rice farmers, who pay a fraction of the price for water.</span></p><p> Sat, 09 Mar 2013 00:55:18 +0000 Nathan Bernier 6895 at http://kut.org Political Effort to Keep More Water in Highland Lakes New Rules Reversed at Hippie Hollow, Austin's Clothing-Optional Park (Update) http://kut.org/post/new-rules-reversed-hippie-hollow-austins-clothing-optional-park-update <p><strong>Update: </strong>Travis County Parks reversed its decision to change boating rules at Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis at a public meeting last night.</p><p>In fact, after about a week of tension between Travis County Parks and people who frequent Hippie Hollow, the meeting ended with laughter and applause.</p><p>“This is a great example of a grass roots movement. Where people are trying to reach out the administrators who work in their government and the guys come to the table and listen to what the folks have to say,” Friends of the Hollow member Randall Huntsinger said. Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:46:38 +0000 Tyler Pratt 6755 at http://kut.org New Rules Reversed at Hippie Hollow, Austin's Clothing-Optional Park (Update) LCRA Proposes Relief for Rice Farmers http://kut.org/post/lcra-proposes-relief-rice-farmers <p></p><p>The Lower Colorado River Authority approved a plan this week that could ease the strain on the Highland Lakes in the future. For&nbsp;<a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/">StateImpact&nbsp;Texas</a>, David Barer explains&nbsp;<a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2013/01/16/how-new-texas-water-supplies-could-help-both-farmers-and-cities/">plans to build a new reservoir</a>&nbsp;for downstream rice farmers.</p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 23:37:43 +0000 David Barer 6218 at http://kut.org LCRA Proposes Relief for Rice Farmers The Lead: Austin’s Frosty Morning, LCRA May Cut Off Rice Farmers http://kut.org/post/lead-austin-s-frosty-morning-lcra-may-cut-rice-farmers <p>Good morning, and congratulations on reaching another Friday. It’s a cold and wet one out there, so drive carefully.</p><p><strong>The weather outside is frightful</strong>: The <a href="http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx/">National Weather Service</a> says most precipitation will be cold rain, albeit with some light sleet will briefly mixed in. That rain won’t be helping out much <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/drought-likely-continue-central-texas">with the drought </a>either: accumulation is expected to be below an inch, with a dry and warmer weekend forecast.</p><p> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 14:55:18 +0000 Wells Dunbar 6058 at http://kut.org The Lead: Austin’s Frosty Morning, LCRA May Cut Off Rice Farmers Lake Levels Up Slightly After Rainfall http://kut.org/post/lake-levels-slightly-after-rainfall <p><a href="http://kutnews.org/post/travis-county-burn-ban-lifted-0" target="_blank">Recent rainfall</a> is helping to fill the Highland Lakes—at least a little bit.</p><p>Parts of Central Texas received more than two inches of rain on Sunday. Combined with rainfall from earlier last week, rainfall totals for some areas topped nine inches.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.lcra.org/water/conditions/river_report.html" target="_blank">Lower Colorado River Authority</a> says the water level of Lake Travis is up a little over a foot. Lake Buchanan only saw a gain of a few hundredths of an inch.</p><p>"The location of the rain makes all the difference and, in this case, the vast majority of the rain fell over the Highland Lakes basin," LCRA river operations center supervisor Dan Yates says.</p><p> Mon, 17 Sep 2012 17:28:23 +0000 Laura Rice 5092 at http://kut.org Lake Levels Up Slightly After Rainfall AM Update: LCRA Wants More Water, Parks Burn Ban, Another Hasan Trial Delay? http://kut.org/post/am-update-lcra-wants-more-water-parks-burn-ban-another-hasan-trial-delay <p><strong>Securing More Water for Central Texas</strong></p><p>The <a href="http://www.lcra.org/" target="_blank">Lower Colorado River Authority</a> is taking action on three projects that the Board of Directors say will increase its water supply and reduce demand for water from the Highland Lakes.</p><p>The LCRA has put money down to hold <a href="http://www.lcra.org/library/media/public/docs/news/Downstream-Fact-Sheet.pdf" target="_blank">land near the Colorado River</a> while it explores the option of building two water reservoirs there. The LCRA says water could be diverted to the reservoirs in times of heavy rain or floods and then be made available for customer use.</p><p>The LCRA is also putting together a purchase agreement to buy the <a href="http://www.alcoa.com/locations/usa_rockdale/en/info_page/home.asp" target="_blank">Alcoa aluminum property</a> northeast of Austin that would give it <a href="http://www.lcra.org/library/media/public/docs/news/Alcoa-Fact-Sheet.pdf" target="_blank">rights to a groundwater aquifer </a>*<em>as well as surface water</em>. Thu, 16 Aug 2012 13:38:27 +0000 Laura Rice 4891 at http://kut.org AM Update: Food Recall Affects Texas, LCRA Won't Lower Lake Levels, Another Longhorn Gold http://kut.org/post/am-update-food-recall-affects-texas-lcra-wont-lower-lake-levels-another-longhorn-gold <p><strong>Watch What You Eat</strong></p><p>A <a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&amp;_Events/Recall_053_2012_Release/index.asp" target="_blank">Minnesota company is recalling</a> more than 15,000 pounds of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products &ndash; some of which was sent to a distribution center in Texas.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.activepacks.com/" target="_blank">meat products</a> may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.</p><p>The recall affects:</p><ul style="margin-top: 0em; margin-bottom: 0em"><li>5.6 oz. packages of &quot;Armour Active Packs Turkey &amp; Cheese Wrap&quot; Package Code 1026090112 or Case Code 27815-17994</li><li>5.6 oz. packages of &quot;Armour Active Packs Ham &amp; Cheese Wrap&quot; Package Code 1026090112 or Case Code 27815-17995</li></ul><p> Mon, 06 Aug 2012 13:33:58 +0000 Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4821 at http://kut.org AM Update: Food Recall Affects Texas, LCRA Won't Lower Lake Levels, Another Longhorn Gold Recent Rain Barely Boosts Lake Levels http://kut.org/post/recent-rain-barely-boosts-lake-levels <p>Parts of North Austin and Round Rock received more than four inches of rain in last night&rsquo;s storm. But Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are only up a couple of inches. That&rsquo;s because most of the rain fell downstream of the watershed.</p><p>Bob Rose is the chief meteorologist with the <a href="http://www.lcra.org/water/conditions/weather/weather_column.html" target="_blank">Lower Colorado River Authority</a>. He says the recent rain has been great, but is no drought-buster.</p><p>&ldquo;To really start re-filling the lakes, we kind of need an overall change in the whole weather pattern,&quot; Rose says. &quot;Where we start getting more rain more frequently and the rain falls all across the area, including the Hill Country.&quot; Mon, 16 Jul 2012 18:03:55 +0000 Laura Rice 4691 at http://kut.org Recent Rain Barely Boosts Lake Levels Colorado River’s Oxygen Levels Dropping http://kut.org/post/colorado-river-s-oxygen-levels-dropping <p><a href="http://kut.org/2012/06/life-by-the-drop-down-the-colorado-river/" target="_blank">The Colorado River</a> not only supplies much of Central Texas with its drinking water, it&rsquo;s also a cherished destination for summer recreation seekers. But new data suggests that the health of the river ecosystem might be in jeopardy.</p><p>And authorities might not have known about the scope of the problem without the help of some teenage naturalists.</p><p>For about 20 years, <a href="http://www.ayrw.org/">Austin Youth River Watch</a> has organized groups of teens to monitor the water quality of the Colorado. Every week they check water at different parts of the river and its tributaries. Lately they&rsquo;ve been getting some unusual readings. Thu, 05 Jul 2012 17:07:41 +0000 Mose Buchele 4620 at http://kut.org Colorado River’s Oxygen Levels Dropping AM Update: EPA May Approve Clean Air Plan, Free Life Jackets, New Disc Golf Course http://kut.org/post/am-update-epa-may-approve-clean-air-plan-free-life-jackets-new-disc-golf-course <p><strong>EPA Hints at Approval of TCEQ Air Plan</strong></p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/states/tx.html">U.S. Environmental Protection Agency&nbsp;</a> has signaled it will likely approve changes to the state&rsquo;s clean air plan.</p><p>A revised plan from the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/">Texas Commission on Environmental Quality</a>&nbsp;establishes site-wide emission caps with specific monitoring at units for existing major sources of air pollution. The EPA said the&nbsp;<a href="http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/8b770facf5edf6f185257359003fb69e/6772c87c6fd9362185257a1600696e25!OpenDocument">proposal</a>&nbsp;gives the industry more flexibility in day-to-day operations.</p><p>The agency will seek public comment on the approval for 30 days before it makes a final decision. You can <a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2012/06/07/whats-behind-epas-approval-of-texas-new-clean-air-plan/">read more over at StateImpact Texas</a>.</p><p> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:54:00 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4429 at http://kut.org AM Update: EPA May Approve Clean Air Plan, Free Life Jackets, New Disc Golf Course