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Top Morning Stories October 19, 2011

Reshma Kirpalani for KUT News
As the drought lowers Lake Travis, The Lower Colorado River Authority's Board is voting on changes to its water managment plan Wednesday.

LCRA to Vote on Key Water Policy Changes

The Lower Colorado River Authority’s trying to rework how it manages water in the face of this persistent drought. The LCRA Board is meeting this morning to vote on key changes to its water management plan.

Changes include raising the minimum amount of water that should be stored in reserves and placing an annual limit on water for farmers. If these changes are approved today, The LCRA Board would still vote on the plan one more time before submitting it to the state, which has the final word.

GOP Presidential Debate Gets Heated

Presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney had their fair share of heated exchanges during the Republican debate last night in Las Vegas. Instead of defending his record as governor, Perry went on the offensive against Romney. The two spent lots of time criticizing each other on immigration issues.

Also, Perry spent the first 30 minutes of his debate performance disparaging Herman Cain's so called 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan. You can get a complete wrap of the Vegas debate from KUT's political reporter Ben Philpott's story here.

On the City Council Agenda:

The Austin City Council is taking up a couple of items on smoking in city parks at its meeting tomorrow. One proposal would create a fine for people who smoke, grill or have any open flames while a temporary burn ban is in place at city parks. Right now a burn ban is in place, but it is essentially unenforceable, because the city can’t issue tickets to violators. The council will also vote Thursday on whether to implement a permanent smoking ban at city parks.

Tomorrow the city council will also vote on whether to allow residents to use a smart phone application to report people who illegally park in disabled parking spots. You can take a look at the city's agenda here.