Dry, hot weather not having big impact on area lakes


AUSTIN (KXAN) — July is known for its long stretches of hot and dry weather with temperatures soaring above 100 degrees. But something unusual is happening at Lakes Travis and Buchanan, both remain full. Right now the Lower Colorado River Authority reports the lakes are 91 percent full which means additional water restrictions within the city of Austin are not likely in the near future.

“If you take a look at where Lake Travis is today which is about 7 feet below full,” says John Hofmann, executive vice president for water at LCRA. “Our average lake level for Lake Travis in July is about 14 feet below. Because we had such a wet 2016 we are in much better shape than we have been historically in July.”

In order for the city of Austin to kick in Stage 1 water restrictions, the lakes would need to drop from their current 1.8 million acre-feet level to 1.4 million. However, according to the LCRA, the lakes only lose about 150,000 acre-feet per year. On average each day the lake loses about three-quarters of an inch due to evaporation which means boaters still need to be aware of their surroundings.

“It doesn’t take much of a change in the elevation in the lakes at all for hazards to pop up,” says Hofmann. “Sometimes Island is a great example of that where literally if Lake Travis goes down 5 feet or so “Sometimes Island” becomes an island you can see.”

And along with the city of Austin, the LCRA is preparing for future population growth in Central Texas.

“We’re in the process of building an additional reservoir downstream right now that will add 90,000 acre-feet of additional supply to what we already have and we have plans to look at other additional sources like ground water and other things,” says Hofmann.

The public can call 311 if they need to report a residence or business that might be overwatering due to a broken sprinkler for example.On KXAN News Today, Kate Weidaw is LIVE to explain the city’s current water usage and what is expected the rest of the summer.

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