LCRA's big plans to address future droughts

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by ANDY PIERROTTI / KVUE News and Photojournalist DEREK RASOR

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndyP_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on December 28, 2012 at 7:24 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 28 at 11:34 PM

AUSTIN -- Lakeway Resort and Spa is a full-service luxury hotel. It’s got a great view of Lake Travis, that’s half full of water.

“We do hair, we do nails…we have two heated pools,” said Bob Kisker, its general manager.

Kisker said business is great but he admits the drought poses a potential perception problem.

“What I think would worry me is if people got the wrong impression that the lake wasn't functionable,” Kisker said.

Lake Travis water levels are only at 40 percent.

“That's a big concern to me,” said Lakeway Mayor Dave DeOme.

DeOme worries continued drought conditions could impact basic services.

“Water for drinking and for emergency services, fire, that kind of thing,” said DeOme.

“We're in a very, very serious drought,” said Beck Motal, general manager at the Lower Colorado River Authority

Next month, she plans to ask LCRA's board to build a massive reservoir in Wharton County.

If built, it will collect rainwater south of Lake Travis, that typically goes uncollected and into the Gulf of Mexico.

“So we can utilize water we capture down there and thus not have to release it out of the highland lakes,” Motal said.

Plus, the LCRA is waiting for the state to authorize drilling water out of Bastrop County.

Mayor DeOme said he wants quicker action.

“That's what, three years away? I'm more concerned with what's happening right now to be honest with you,” he said.

DeOme said LCRA should continue its water restrictions to south Texas farmers next year.

Motal said that's still a possibility.

“We think that it's important we have some flexibility to not release as much water or potentially no water at all," Motal said.

If the reservoir is built, it will cost more than $200 million, and it wouldn't be operational until at least 2016.

 

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