Posted on May 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM
When I visited the Pedernales River off Highway 71 in Western Travis County last June, I could stand on the bone-dry riverbed.
Fast forward to today. Water is flowing again in the Pedernales, thanks to the rains this spring. There's plenty of vegetation growing on the riverbanks. The water level is still very low - but it's higher compared to eleven months ago.
A few months ago, I came to the Pedernales and the sky happened to be overcast. It seemed to fit the mood of the river, where it had very little water. On Thursday, the skies were mostly sunny, the water was flowing again, the grass was greener, and the plants were greener - but we still need a lot more rain.
Real estate agent Scott Bullard says the rain is not just good for the river - it also means a lot for business. "The property values go up and down with the water levels, and we've seen that in the last two years with the drought," said Bullard.
The recent rains have made Bullard more optimistic. "I'm staying! It's gonna rain - it's gonna come back. It always does," he said enthusiastically.
Paul Johnson lives along the Pedernales River. He's happy to see the rain, but adds, "We need a lot more - we need a hurricane (to) come over here and sit for a few days - is what we need - catch the rain from it."
This past February, the water levels at Lake Travis were 38 percent full. Much of the shoreline was exposed. Compare that to today. The water level has risen; the lake is now 50 percent full.
John Rodriguez co-owns Makin' Waves watercraft rentals. He was at Mansfield dam breaking in his company's brand-new pontoon boat. The recent rains gave his company cause to celebrate.
"Yeah, we got excited - e-mails were going out, Facebook notices -'hey, we got rain coming in and it's hitting the right spot', so yeah, we were real excited about all that," said Rodriguez.
He expects his business to pick up, with summer about to start. But he has one caveat.
"It can rain all week long, Monday through Friday, as long as the weekends are clear - once school gets out, we're gonna be even more busy during the week, so we kinda hope it just rains that night."
That's something I couldn't promise John, but I'd see what I could do.