Austin
1:46 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

LCRA Warns of Lake Hazards, Urges Conservation

Correction for Clarification: The Lower Colorado River Authority requests that customers impose mandatory water restrictions when the combines lake storage drop below 900,000 acre-feet of water, but does not curtail.

The Lower Colorado River Authority is asking Central Texas residents to conserve water and to be careful when boating on Lakes Travis and Buchanan. The agency manages the water in the Highland Lakes. Officials says lake levels have dropped because of the “exceptional drought” and increased evaporation due to high temperatures and wind.

“Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are dropping out about 1.4 feet per week,” said Bob Rose, the LCRA’s chief meteorologist. “This is a very significant drop, especially as we’re headed into the hottest and driest point of the summer.”

When lakes drop to 900,000 acre-feet of water storage, the LCRA imposes mandatory water restrictions. Rose says the agency has revised its forecast of when the lakes will reach that point to late August or early September, if current drought conditions continue.

There are now only two public boat ramps open on Lake Travis.

The LCRA is placing markers on the lakes to warn boaters of hazards. Rocks that used to be underwater are now exposed. They’re also warning swimmers of steep dropoffs on the lake floor.

“This lake is constantly changing, when you come out to this lake and then come back two or three weeks later, it’s going to change significantly,” Don Brent, the LCRA chief of Public Safety said. “There’s a lot of hazards out here that you might not see the first time but you may see them the next time you come out.”

For forecasts for the Highland Lakes, check out LCRA’s drought update page.