LCRA decision baffles officials
November 19, 2012, 9:00 pm by James Walker
Highland Lakes supporters and officials are still struggling to understand the Lower Colorado River Authority board of directors decision last week that almost certainly will result in a substantial amount of water being released from the lakes next spring for use by downstream rice farmers even with the lakes at critically low levels.
"This decision is incomprehensible,” Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger wrote in an e-mail update to county residents and others. "The vote of this LCRA board could manage our lakes into a drought worse than the drought of record.”
The board’s vote last week in Fredericksburg puts drinking water for 1.5 million people in Central Texas in peril, Klaeger wrote.
If the weather in Central Texas develops in coming months as has been forecast and LCRA follows through on the plan to release almost 150,000 acre feet of water from the lakes next spring for use by the rice farmers, "it will devastate our economies and put thousands of jobs at risk,” Klaeger said.
In voting to approve an emergency drought order with a cut-off figure that is 75,000 acre feet lower than the one in a similar plan that is in effect until Dec. 31, the rice farmers seem assured of receiving approximately 121,500 acre feet from the lakes next spring.
In order for that 121,500 to reach the farmers in Matagorda, Wharton and Colorado counties, almost 150,000 acre feet would have to be released from the lakes to allow for an evaporation factor, LCRA staff members acknowledge.
For more of this story, see Tuesday's Highlander.
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