The water level of Lake Buchanan, one of two reservoirs in the Highland Lakes chain, has dropped dramatically. According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, the level on Oct. 11 was 1,003.14 feet, or 62 percent full. When full, the lake level is about 1,020 feet. A year ago, on Aug. 10, the lake was 99.6 percent full at 1,016.72 feet, according to waterdatafortexas.org. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
The Central Texas Water Coalition has taken its fight for a new Highland Lakes water management plan to Gov. Greg Abbott and intends to speak out on the issue once again during a Lower Colorado River Authority status report on the plan Thursday, Oct. 13.
The group obtained signed resolutions backing its position from commissioners courts in Burnet and Travis counties and asked for the water management plan to be put on the LCRA Board of Directors meeting agenda for August.
“All requests were met with stone silence,” wrote Jo Karr Tedder, coalition president, and Ron Doughty, vice president of external affairs, in a letter to the governor.
The letter also asked Abbott, who appoints LCRA board members, to provide more oversight of the board, calling the LCRA an “unregulated monopoly.”
“We are constantly amazed at the scarcity of questions from the board members to (LCRA) staff, along with the absence of discussion or dialogue among the board members (at meetings),” the letter reads. “Almost every board vote is unanimous, often with no public discussion, and in accordance with the recommendations of LCRA’s management.”
The letter begins with the declaration that coalition members are writing out of frustration.
“In our view, the LCRA Board is failing to recognize or even acknowledge the water crisis 2 million people (voters) in Central Texas now face,” it reads.
It points out that without significant floods in the near future, lakes Buchanan and Travis, the two Highland Lakes reservoirs, will soon drop below 50 percent of their capacities.
It further blasts the LCRA for its “don’t worry, it’s going to rain” philosophy and for continuing to allow sales of water to downstream rice farmers.
“What LCRA somehow fails to grasp is the skyrocketing impact of population growth, both residential and businesses, without an alternative drinking water supply,” the letter continues. “Failure of the current plan would have very serious consequences. New water supplies are needed to support this growth, and hard choices must be made on how available water is allocated.”
The Central Texas Water Coalition will take its arguments back before LCRA staff at the water management plan status report, which is from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at the Red Bud Center on Lake Austin Boulevard in Austin. The meeting is for stakeholders who helped write the original plan in 2020, which includes the coalition. LCRA board members will not attend as this is not a board meeting and no decisions will be made.