AUSTIN (KXAN) - Lake Travis, Austin's main water supply that has been steadily depleted since last year's drought, drank in several feet of new water from the overnight storms.
But it still needs to rise by nearly 40 feet before it reaches what is considered to be its average level.
The storms that barreled into Central Texas sometime after midnight Tuesday brought "the most significant rain we've had since (Tropical Storm) Hermine," said Clara Tuma, spokeswoman for the Lower Colorado River Authority. "We're very grateful for the rain, and it's enough to make a difference."
But, Tuma added, it only brought Lake Travis to about 633 feet above sea level. While that's higher than last year's low point of 626 feet, a lot more rain will have to fall over the Texas Hill Country and the other reservoirs in the Highland Lakes chain before the drought can be declared dead. The average level is 671 feet.
Folks in and around Marble Falls came out just to get a glimpse of the water on Tuesday. The LCRA hasn't opened the flood gates at Wirtz or Starcke Dam since September 2010.
"It's pretty neat to see it again, it has been way too long," said Connor Montgomery, a Marble Falls resident.
The LCRA, which manages the Highland Lakes, opened the upstream floodgates at both Starcke Dam on Lake Marble Falls and Wirtz Dam on Lake LBJ to allow water to drain into Lake Travis, Tuma said.
"We are using the floodgates to pass the water on down through Lake Marble Falls and on into Lake Travis," said Arnold Lewis, of LCRA.
Now that the water from Tuesday morning's storm is here, LCRA is planning to use it wisely.
"The bad news is that this is not a drought-busting rain," Tuma said Tuesday morning. "We are still in a drought."
"Hopefully we will get a couple feet of water into Lake Travis. I don't know what those totals are going to be right now," said Lewis. "As everyone in Central Texas knows the lakes have been low and this is a really welcomed event."
Water in the Highland Lakes will be moving quickly and anyone near the lakes is advised to use extreme caution.
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