The Lower Colorado River Authority said it will lower Lake LBJ and Lake Austin for six weeks early next year.
LCRA said the purpose of the move is to give lakeside property owners an opportunity to repair and maintain their docks, retaining walls and other property along the shoreline. It will also help curb the growth of aquatic vegetation like hydrilla and Eurasian watermilfoil.
“It’s been years since we’ve lowered any of the Highland Lakes,” said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water in a release. “Property owners need to maintain their boat docks and perform other maintenance, and I’m pleased our water supplies have been replenished enough that a drawdown is possible. Our lakes are nearly full, and conditions in the basin are better than they have been in several years.”
Lake LBJ will be lowered around four feet from around Jan. 2 to Feb. 13, 2017, and the LCRA said the drawdown will take 3-4 days. The water released will be held in Lake Travis until needed by customers. At the end of the drawdown, water will be released from Lake Buchanan.
LCRA said a permit is not needed for dock repairs performed on Lake LBJ during the drawdown, but the work must comply with their safety standards. Dredging, debris removal and repairs on existing retaining walls can be done under LCRA’s permit, but the work must be registered with the LCRA. GO HERE for more information and to register.
The LCRA said the City of Austin has requested Lake Austin be lowered around 10 feet from around Jan. 2 to Feb. 13, 2017, and that lowering the lake that far may take 2-3 weeks. This will be done by not sending water downstream from Lake Travis to replace water used by customers or released to meet flow requirements in the lower river. At the end of the drawdown, water will be released from Lake Travis to refill the lake.
The city told the LCRA in their request the drawdown will allow property owners to assess and repair bulkheads and docks, stay ahead of nuisance vegetation growth in the lake and allow an Austin Fire Station to maintain its boat ramp. Property owners will be required to secure authorization from the city to perform work on structures in or along the lake during the drawdown period.
- For minor repairs of existing docks, removing sediment beneath the footprint of existing docks or repairing up to 25 percent of an existing bulkhead, contact the City of Austin Development Assistance Center at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road, Austin, or 512-974-6370.
- For new dock construction, or to add, change or replace structural components such as load bearing beams, piers or pilings, an approved site plan signed and sealed by a licensed professional engineer is required. For more information, including the application requirements, contact the City of Austin Development Assistance Center at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Road, Austin, or 512-974-6370; or call Liz Johnston, Watershed Protection Division, at 512-974-2619.
LCRA said they are expecting early 2017 to be the last opportunity to lower Lake Austin for several years due to the upcoming five-year project to strengthen and modernize floodgates on Tom Miller Dam.
The drawdown is subject to change due to emergencies such as floods. LCRA said the last time it lowered Lake LBJ was in 2008, Lake Marble Falls in 2009, and both Lake Austin and Inks Lake in 2011. There were no drawdowns in 2012-16 due to the drought.
GO HERE for more information about the planned drawdown.