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Energy & Environment

Water Conservation Critical As Drought Worsens

Lake_Travis_Drought__July2011_160.jpg
Photo courtesy of Lower Colorado River Authority
Levels in Lake Travis are at record lows. That's just one symptom of a drought that could push Austin into tighter water restrictions.

Despite some recent light rain, the Lower Colorado River Authority continues to urge Texans to conserve water. Central Texas' rainfall levels are 17 and a half inches below average.

LCRA meteorologist Bob Rose said it could be months before lake levels return to normal, if past droughts are any indication.

"When it finally started raining in the fall of 2009, it took til probably about the fourth storm before we finally started seeing a reaction in the tributaries going into the Highland lakes," Rose said. "Even though we may get, say, an inch of rain across the hill country, right now that won’t translate into any runoff coming into our lakes."

Austin's Water Utility is at Stage One restrictions, meaning homeowners can only water their lawns twice a week. Unless more rain comes soon, low water level triggers could prompt the LCRA to ask customers--like the City of Austin--to tighten water restrictions, perhaps as early as the end of next month.

 

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