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Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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Texas Lake Levels Still Low


Low level of water at lake shows sand and wood. | Image by Lake Hub/Texas Lake Levels

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With recent drought conditions and high temperatures in Texas, lake levels have dropped and remained below normal.

The chief reservoirs in Central Texas, Travis and Buchanan, were being inadequately fed by key lakes and rivers in the area, Axios reported. The giant lakes in Central Texas were at 56% capacity on August 16.

At the start of August, Lake Buchanan was 65% full, and Lake Travis was 53% full, CBS Austin reported. On August 23, they were 65.6% and 51% full, respectively.

Austin and other Texas cities implemented mild water restrictions to address drought conditions.

Jo Karr Tedder from the Central Texas Water Coalition shared that the City of Austin was good at conserving water during times like this. Tedder added regional plans could be more beneficial than city-wide plans.

“Everybody’s criteria is different, but they’re all part of central Texas; it should be looked at as a central Texas plan,” he said.

Communities independently plan for droughts, according to Kevin Kluge, the water conservation division manager with Austin Water. Some of the plans are based on lake levels, but some have different criteria.

Kluge told CBS Austin, “Each individual community has their own drought contingency plan, and they have different triggers to go into those different stages, and some of them are based on lake level, some of them are based on groundwater levels.”

In North Texas, lake levels were also below normal, Axios reported. Before Monday’s deluge, the Dallas-Fort Worth region had only received a little over 12 inches of rainfall all year. Even after the welcome rain, NTX lake levels were still only averaging 69.7% full, down from the 84.8% average a year before.

Lake Lavon had fallen 4.3 feet below the conservation pool, while Benbrook Lake had fallen 9.5 feet below.

The dry streak in Central Texas was brought to an end on August 18, after around two months with no rainfall, CBS Austin reported.

The region experienced “numerous storms, locally heavy rainfall, and MUCH cooler temperatures spreading across Central Texas,” Avery Tomasco with CBS Austin shared on Twitter.

Matt Stalley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told Axios that any rain received this week would help, but it may not fix all of the drought issues.

“Unfortunately, the nature of rain at this time of the year tends to be the hit-or-miss variety. Some people can get a lot, and some people don’t get any,” Stalley said.    

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