Two days of storms that delivered about 3 inches of rain to Austin did little for the levels of the lakes that serve as Austin’s water supply. Lake Travis rose by less than a foot; Lake Buchanan was up slightly more than 2 inches.
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 bi-partisan proposal in the state legislature.
The bill was filed by State Senators Kirk Watson (D-Austin) and Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay). Watson says the Lower Colorado River Authority 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.