The Llano River is flowing over the fully boarded Llano Dam for the first time since early June. The river's rapid rise is due to recent rainfall across western counties that lie within the Llano River watershed. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
The Llano River began flowing over the Llano Dam on Wednesday, Aug. 24, for the first time since early June. Rain in western counties in the Llano River watershed contributed to the river’s renewed vigor.
As of this story being written, the Llano River was flowing over the dam at a rate of 201 cubic-feet per second, according to data from the LCRA hydromet. The flow of the river had dwindled to 0 cfs in recent weeks due to extreme drought conditions plaguing the Hill Country. Llano County has been in a D4 exceptional drought for more than three months. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, D4 is the most severe ranking on the scale.
The city of Llano was forced to cancel its annual Fourth of July event, the Rock’n Riverfest, due to low water levels. The city also scrambled to erect boards along the dam in an effort to capture more water in June, but, by the time the boards were placed, the river was no longer flowing over the dam. The water captured by the Llano Dam is the city’s sole source of drinking water.
While Llano and other Highland Lakes communities recently received between 0.5 inches and 3 inches of rainfall, the main factor in the rapid rise of the river is the massive amount of rain that fell across its watershed. Rivers and creeks throughout Mason and Kimble counties received over 6 inches of rain in some locations as seen on the LCRA hydromet rainfall monitor. These waterways feed directly into the Llano River, which merges with the Colorado River downstream and flows into Lake LBJ.
At the time of writing, the Llano River was contributing six times the amount of water as the Colorado River to the lower Highland Lakes.