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Lake Buchanan sees major rain gains

Lake Buchanan has a higher, greener shoreline than it did in 2023 thanks to recent heavy rainfall across the upper Colorado River Basin. The reservoir has risen over 8 feet from April 30 to May 14, 2024, representing its largest month-to-month elevation change since 2007. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

As of Tuesday, May 14, Lake Buchanan has risen over 8 feet since April 30, the biggest month-to-month increase for the Highland Lakes reservoir since 2007. It has gained 123,741 acre-feet of water in that timeframe, more than the combined storage capacity of lakes LBJ and Marble Falls, which is 121,538 acre-feet.

The 123,741-acre-feet gain is equivalent to submerging 193 square-miles in one foot of water. It is also equal to 40.32 billion gallons of water.

Buchanan was 62 percent full on Tuesday, up from 48 percent full on April 30. The second-largest Highland Lakes reservoir currently holds 545,523 acre-feet of water, but its maximum capacity is 880,356 acre-feet.

A photo of Lake Buchanan taken in the summer of 2023 shows the difference (compared to the top photo) that a little rain can make. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Lower Colorado River Authority rain gauges show that the dense rainfall across Mills, Lampasas, San Saba, Brown, McCulloch, and Coleman counties over the past 30 days likely contributed to the vast majority of the water that ended up in Buchanan. Many gauges in those counties received over 7 inches of rain in that timeframe, and several received more than 10 inches.

The gains are great, but at 1,0003.38 mean sea level, Buchanan is still below its historical May average of 1,012.77 msl.

Lake Travis, the largest Highland Lakes reservoir, has seen some gains but is still suffering from the long drought. Travis has risen 1.88 feet since April 30, up from 630.62 msl to 632.50 msl. It has gained 19,867 acre-feet in the same two-week timeframe, up from 424,444 acre-feet on April 30 to 444,495 acre-feet on Tuesday. 

Travis is currently 40 percent full, up from 38 percent on April 30.

The combined storage capacity of lakes Buchanan and Travis was at 50 percent as of noon Tuesday.

dakota@thepicayune.com

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