Environment
7:18 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Grim Milestone Looms for Lake Travis: A 50 Year Low

Lake Travis could drop to a  50-year low this weekend, possibly falling below 626.1 feet. 

“When that does occur, that would be the third lowest level ever on record for Lake Travis, and the lowest since November of 1963," Meteorologist Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service said. "It tells us the drought is persistent and ongoing."

A report on the economic impact of low lake levels at Lake Travis says tourist visits fall off sharply as public boat ramps close. And all boat ramps on Lake Travis have been closed since December.

Laura Mitchell with the Lake Travis Chamber of Commerce says businesses along the shores are trying to make the best of it.

“You can still get on the lake and in areas it’s still 100 feet deep, so it’s not as though the lake is dry," Mitchell said. "It is still there, and there’s plenty to do, and we still expect to see a lot of traffic out there.”

Lakes Travis and Buchanan serve as the primary water source for the City of Austin. And the city has implemented Stage Two water restrictions because of low lake levels. That means hose end sprinklers and automatic irrigation systems can only be used one day per week. 

This helicopter video from the Lower Colorado River Authority shows an aerial view of the effects of the drought on Lake Travis. It was filmed in June.