The Lower Colorado River Authority’s (LCRA) Board has reacted to significant political pressure from the lakes communities and the City of Austin and raised the level requirement of Lakes Buchanan and Travis. This change means that unless it rains (and forecasts are not good for that), there will not be water for rice in the LCRA system for another year. This will have a huge negative impact on ducks.
The raised lake levels order has been approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) executive director and will be voted on by TCEQ commissioners at the Feb. 13 meeting. Ducks Unlimited’s Kirby Brown has prepared written testimony for the meeting clearly outlining impacts to wetlands and waterfowl, and questioning the lack of significant, coordinated basin-wide water conservation measures.
DU is also meeting with Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Agriculture Commissioner to build a partnership to provide expanded water conservation messaging in cities, towns and businesses in the basin to better share the burden, and more accurately reflect the dire situation downstream and in the lakes. We are proposing a campaign over the next year, under Texas Water Smart, to impact water consumption and increase water conservation to try to affect lake levels.