AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas water supplier has voted to ask the state to allow it to withhold irrigation water from downstream rice farmers for a third year in a row.
The Lower Colorado River Authority voted 8-7 on Tuesday to require its two key reservoirs near Austin to be filled to 55 percent of their capacity by March before releasing water downstream for rice farmers. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will have the last word on the issue.
The LCRA had required Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis to be 42 percent full if rice farmers were to draw irrigation water from them. Those Highland Lakes didn't reach that threshold in either of the past two years.
The lakes are now at 36 percent of capacity.