Floods end agricultural drought in Austin, don't help Lake Travis

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by ANDREW CHUNG / KVUE News and Photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @AndrewC_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 9:14 AM

Updated Monday, Dec 2 at 12:21 PM

AUSTIN -- At Boggy Creek Farm in East Austin, the crops look great. From the healthy greens to the vibrant reds - the recent rains have had a hand in helping out these crops. 

Co-owner Carol Ann Sayle says things have come a long way from the brutal summer of 2011.

"Last year was better, and this year is better than last year. So we're hopeful now with the rainy winter and all of that - that should help us get in good shape for spring and summer," she said.

The abundant rains have eased what we call the agricultural drought in the Austin area.

According to the most recent drought monitor map from the National Drought Mitigation Center, Travis County is the only area that's largely out of the drought. That's thanks to the rains that fell along the I-35 corridor last week.

Out west the Hill Country continues to suffer. It's still under moderate to severe drought conditions. The worst is in Gillespie County, part of which is in extreme conditions.

However the real indicator of the drought is at Lake Travis. Sure the vegetation around the lake looks good, but Sometimes Peninsula is clearly visible. Now if the heavy rains last week had fallen 50 to 100 miles west of Austin, this lake would have gotten a pretty good boost.

Lake Travis rose a little more than a foot over the past week. It's currently 35 percent full. Jason Hill of Austin Water says that's why Stage 2 water restrictions continue. 

"We are encouraging folks to not be fooled, to continue to conserve water - be mindful about their water use,” he said.

It's been three years since Austin last came out of the drought, but Central Texas still has a long way to go. 

"Some consistent rainfall in the right place would be a welcome pleasure for us here in Central Texas. To get those reservoirs healthy again, where we can ease back again on those water restrictions," Hill explained.

Besides conserving water all we can do is hope for rain to fall west of the lakes.

 

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