Think about the first time you drove out to the lake and the view of open hill country with the waters of Lake Travis came into sight. Things looked a lot different if it was a time when Lake Travis was full.
Beautiful scenery, amenities, and recreational opportunities are all part of what makes this place we call home so special. Lake Travis is the main reason we have seen significant residential and commercial growth in the area. Recent traffic issues in the area might have you arguing that we’ve seen enough!
Most visitors don’t come to the Austin area without a visit to the lakes or an evening spent watching the sun going down over Lake Travis. A full Lake Travis provides the area with a significant amount of revenue.
A report from the Lake Travis Coalition shows just how serious things can get when the lake falls below 660 feet.
Annual visitor spending drops by as much as $33.8 million from the norm of $90.5 million. As many as 241 jobs are lost, accounting for $6.1 million in lost wages. Sales tax revenue dips $1.7 million. Hotel receipts decrease by $45,000. Mixed drink sales fall $120,000. Park visits are reduced by as many as 375,000 per year.
The water level of Lake Travis has a huge impact on our community and we’re seeing that play out as the water level is reaching a record low.
The drought combined with existing water demands is demonstrating that LCRA’s current water management plan is having a significant impact on the lake levels, water quality, and the regional economy.
Not only do the waters of Lake Austin and Lake Travis provide us with breathtaking scenery, recreation, and revenue, but sometimes we forget what else is at stake — this is our drinking water!
So I’m asking — pleading — to all Lake Travis area residents and anyone who enjoys this amazing place we call home. Besides doing your very best to conserve water, please get involved.
More Water Being Released From Lake Travis
Today, the LCRA will begin releasing water from the Highland Lakes for the environmental needs of Matagorda Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast. Releases should last through Tuesday, Sept. 17.
If you haven’t started to question the LCRA’s water management plan, now is a good time.
How much lower are we going to see Lake Travis drop with this current water management plan?
LCRA is now looking at possibly dropping the water level in Lake Austin. The idea is that when it rains and Lake Austin is full, all the water that would be collected has to flow downstream and it’s lost forever. If the water level in Lake Austin is dropped by 2-4 feet, that would allow a rain event in the area to be captured and prevent more water from being drained out of Lake Travis.
There are all kinds of reasons why this is not a good idea. It’s this kind of thinking and decision making that has a lot of us questioning how our most precious resource is being managed.
A List of Places to Keep Informed and Get Involved
Central Texas Water Coalition – Central Texas Water Coalition is an umbrella 501(c)4 non-profit organization with plans to unite the 2 million people who live in Central Texas in accordance with their mission statement.
CTWC’s primary mission is to advocate for and preserve the Highland Lakes’ role as an irreplaceable natural resource that drives an important regional economic engine for the State of Texas, and to bring together concerned citizens as a constituency of the Highland “Lake Interests”.
Friends of Lake Austin – Dedicated to preserving and enhancing Lake Austin for those who live, work, and play on the lake.
Texas Water Development Board – The Texas Water Development Board’s (TWDB) mission is to provide leadership, planning, financial assistance, information, and education for the conservation and responsible development of water for Texas.