Tuesday, September 16, 2014

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Recent rainfall gives lake level a slight bump

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TWC News: Recent rainfall gives lake level a slight bump
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The recent rainfall west of Austin bodes well for the Highland Lakes, but not as much as some would hope.

Rodney Peterson lives near the Easy Street Marina on Lake Travis. Due to the heavy rains Thursday, damaged docks and battered boats now dot the banks.

"Now it ain’t nothing. It's just trash,” he said. "I've got a medium-sized houseboat. They told me to wait until the water came up. I'm glad I waited."

Waiting is all too common for the Lower Colorado River Authority in terms of rainfall.
Dan Yates, LCRA River Operations Supervisor, says the lakes were 43 percent full before the rain, and he expects that to rise to only about 44 percent now.

"Every day, we keep track of that storage--that number--to base our decisions on how we are supplying water to our downstream users," Yates said.

"You can see from Mansfield Dam that there is a long way to go before Lake Travis is near full, let alone near normal levels. LCRA officials are optimistic that fall rains could be in the forecast."

LCRA meteorologist Bob Rose watches the weather closely.

"This appears to be just the start now of us getting into a wetter pattern that will hopefully continue now through the rest of the year," Rose said,

Aside from a few heavy rains earlier this year, most of the storms that rolled through Central Texas dodged the Hill Country. That's one reason Rose says the lakes won't rise much this round--despite five to seven inches of rainfall in some spots.

"Now that we are getting the ground wet, if we can get another good rain event here pretty soon, we should see a better reaction the next time--more rainfall running off into the tributaries," Rose said.

LCRA officials say consistent, widespread rains could increase lake levels quickly. They say not releasing water to rice farmers downstream this year helped keep the reservoirs somewhat steady.

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