LAKE TRAVIS (KXAN) — The relentless drought that has plagued Central Texas for the last three years is taking a toll on the waterways that flow into Lake Travis. The inflows reached historic levels in 2022 for the lowest inflow ever into the lake.

Jordan Furnans, Ph.D., is the vice president of Texas Operations for LRE Water. He says the start of tracking these inflows began in 1942. In 2022, only 110,000 acre-feet of water flowed into Lake Travis from the watersheds upstream. That easily “beats” the former record of 128,000 in 2011.

An acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons of water. This is enough water to cover an acre of land, (about the size of a football field) one foot deep.

Some of the creeks and rivers that flow into Lake Travis include Sandy Creek near Kingsland, the Colorado River near San Saba, the Llano River near Llano, and the Pedernales River at both Fredericksburg and Johnson City.

Upstream Flow Conditions and Gauged Inflows

of Last Report
Current Flow
Previous Day
Average Flow (cfs)
Previous Day Flow
Volume (a-f)
Colorado River near San SabaMar 13 2023 2:40PM5659117
Llano River at LlanoMar 13 2023 2:40PM5970139
Sandy Creek near KingslandMar 13 2023 2:40PM5612
Pedernales River near Johnson CityMar 13 2023 2:40PM4511
A few of the waterways flowing into Lake Travis from Monday, March 13, 2023

The first two months of this year isn’t fairing any better. Furnans says we are at 80% in January and February versus what was measured in the first two months of 2022.

The biggest question I had is the same question many of you have. How much rain will it take to fill the lakes, both Travis and Buchanan? He was able to boil this down to an easy many can relate to, especially those who live in Marble Falls.

On June 27, 2007, the city of Marble Falls was deluged with a rain bomb that dropped 19″ in eight hours. Furnans said it would take 13 of these rain bombs over the entire Highland Lakes system to refill the lakes, two of which would have to be directly over Lake Travis and one directly over Lake Buchanan.

We will be watching and waiting to see how the waning La Niña and oncoming El Niño affect the future of inflows.