By SARAH DOOLITTLE, Four Points News
September rains added two feet to Lake Travis, bringing it to 35 percent of capacity, though still 40 feet below average.
Current combined water storage in Lakes Buchanan and Travis is 702,117 acre feet of water. An acre foot is equivalent to the amount of water standing one foot deep on a acre of land.
So far this year, the Lower Colorado River Authority, which manages water in the Lower Colorado lakes chain, has avoided having to issue a Drought Worse Than the Drought of Record Declaration. This would happen were combined storage levels to drop below 600,000 acre feet, the historic low experienced in the 1950s.
Furthermore, meteorologists are still predicting a “wetter pattern” to develop sometime in November.
Bob Rose, LCRA chief meteorologist, states this should be accompanied by, “above normal rainfall continuing into early spring… This pattern should bring our region frequent cloudy, rainy days during late fall and winter.”
Also predicted is a cooler than normal winter, much like the area experienced last year, which would mean good news for students excited at the prospect of frozen precipitation in Central Texas. It would also mean that Leander ISD scheduled Bad Weather Makeup Days would be school days instead.
The Travis County Commissioners Court, which had voted to ban outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of the county, let that ban expire on Oct. 8. It is the third time a burn ban has been lifted in Travis County this year.
For now, water restrictions — including watering lawns no more than once a week — remain in place for LCRA firm customers or residential and commercial customers. Additionally, no water has been released to rice farmers downstream since 2011.
LCRA publishes a monthly email newsletter updating its customers on the Texas drought and Highland Lakes chain. To subscribe, visit www.lcra.org/water/water-supply/drought-update.com.