Record low water levels in Central Texas

Record low water levels in Central Texas

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Mother Nature started the drought and she's the only one who can stop what some are calling a "slow motion natural disaster."

"There's never been a promise that those lakes would stay full and we have no ability to ensure that. So I think enjoy the lakes while they're full and be mindful that that's nature and that's the nature of lakes themselves," said Becky Motal with the Lower Colorado River Authority.

Members of the LCRA say the drought is having a devastating economic effect--on lake recreational areas, businesses and agriculture downstream, as well within the Austin city limits.

Scott Spears, with LCRA, said, "We'll do whatever's necessary to make sure that our "firm" customers, which includes the city of Austin, are taken care of. We'll preserve the water supply as best as we can."

LCRA reps say they're looking for new water supplies and hope to have an off-channel reservoir in Wharton County built by 2017.

"When that new growth does arrive, there will be water there for those "firm" customers," said LCRA Water Executive Manager, Ryan Rowney. "We feel like that's going to alleviate some of the demand on Highland Lakes and in the process, capture a lot of that water that flows past Austin. We can store that water and use it for downstream customers."

For the second year in a row, water has been cut off to most downstream customers, including rice farmers.

Rowney said, "There is still one small irrigation division that does have water. The Garwood Irrigation District are entitled to some small amounts of water, according to their purchase contract, it is a tiny slice of the pie."

Meanwhile, lakeside businesses hope the summer heat will continue to be enough to draw people out on the water.

"It just brings a ton of business to this corner of the lake. It may look different, but it's still plenty of water for recreation," said Jason Claunch, with Carlos and Charlie's Restaurant.

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