AUSTIN (KXAN) — Lake Travis has dropped to its lowest level since May 2015 as a streak of record-breaking heat continues in Austin.
The lake level at Mansfield Dam was recorded at 653.61′ above mean sea level at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, May 18, according to data from the Lower Colorado River Authority.
That’s the lowest level in seven years. May 2015 saw a dramatic increase in the lake level — a jump of 37 feet throughout the month, fueled by record rainfall.
The average elevation for May is 669.75′, which means Lake Travis is currently about 16′ below normal.
As of now, Lake Travis is 61% full and is losing about 633 million gallons of water every day. Meanwhile, water levels at Lake Buchanan are forecast to drop by more than a foot over the next week.
The LCRA says no water releases were made from Lake Buchanan for three months while work on a transmission line meant the hydroelectric generator at Inks Dam was offline. Water releases have now resumed.
If trends continues, combined storage in Lakes Travis and Buchanan could drop below 1.4 million acre-feet by June.
That number is the threshold for the City of Austin to move into Stage One water restrictions. If we reach that point, it would mark the first water restrictions in Austin since September 2018.
While the current lake level is the lowest in since 2015, it’s still a long way from the lowest level ever recorded. The lake hit an all-time low of 614.18′ on Aug. 14, 1951.
The lowest recorded level of Lake Travis in the past decade was 618.56′ in September 2013.