LCRA staff reverses course
January 03, 2013, 6:00 pm by James Walker
The staff of the Lower Colorado River Authority will recommend that no water from the Highland Lakes be provided to downstream rice farmers if the combined storage of water in the Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis reservoirs is below 850,000 acre feet on March 1, the LCRA announced Thursday.
LCRA board members are expected to consider the staff proposal at a special meeting Tuesday in Austin.
An LCRA written statement Thursday afternoon said the Board will consider a staff recommendation to provide interruptible stored water for a first crop in 2013 based on the combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis at 11:59 p.m. on March 1, 2013, as follows:
If water is provided for first crop, staff recommendation is to provide a limited amount of stored water for second crop only if storage on July 1 is at or above 950,000 acre-feet, the LCRA statement said.
The combined storage level in the two lakes as of Thursday was 824,000 acre-feet.
Most rice farmers did not receive water from the Highland Lakes in 2012 because of the provision in a previous emergency drought order that stipulated the water releases would be curtailed if the stored water in Buchanan and Travis was less than 850,000 acre feet.
Highland Lakes supporters and public officials reacted positively to LCRA’s announcement, but State Sen. Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay) wasn’t entirely thrilled, saying that language regarding a water release for a second rice crop should not be included in the staff recommendation.
"I continue to support action by the LCRA Board to operate under a repeat of the TCEQ's December 2011 Emergency Order that does not address the release of water for a second crop,” Fraser said after the LCRA announcement. "I believe there is plenty of time to make those decisions if and when it rains.”
For the full story, see Friday's Highlander.
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