Lake Travis
RED: WTP#4 Proposed Intake elevation, 550' above MSL
GOLD: 2009 Lake Level, 629' above MSL
BLUE: Full Lake Level, 681' above MSL

It’s all the  same water!  In Texas we treat ground water and surface water as if they were different substances. Surface water is the property of the State. Ground water is owned by the landowners above it. (Rule of Capture was strengthened the 2011 Legislative Session by a bill by Senator Troy Fraser and by a Texas Supreme Court decision simply upholding the law!) This is unsustainable! The two comingle across the state. (Aquifers bubble to the surface forming our rivers and streams. In Bastrop County, the Colorado River and the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer mix as they cross each other.) Until we solve this disconnect, water problems will threaten our children’s future. Water is water!

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Issues that Threaten

Lake Travis is about 180 feet in its deepest parts when the lake is full at 681 feet msl (mean sea level). The deepest holes are sometimes near the highest cliffs, i.e. the Oasis. As the lake falls, for safer navigation, stay near the mile markers. They mark the river channel. Constantly watch for rocks and stumps just under the surface. Things will be appearing that have not been seen for 60 years!

Cypress Creek, 2009

Until water is treated equally and State Board positions (LCRA, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality [TCEQ], and Texas Water Development Board [TWDB]) are granted on the basis of knowledge and merit instead of as political favors, our children’s water futures are dismal.

A few points:

The current drought did not lower Lakes Travis and Buchanan to their current levels.  LCRA poor management practices and TCEQ's inability to act knowledgeably lowered our lakes in 2011!  The drought merely magnified their failings.
Poor water management continued into 2013 when, during our severe drought, LCRA released up to 30,000 acre feet of water during April and May in order for the blue sucker to breed.  (The Blue Sucker is a large fish considered "threatened" by Texas Parks and Wildlife, but found in abundance in numerous rivers throughout the United States.)  Our precious spring rainfall was lost on a fish's breeding pattern!
LCRA continued its poor management of our water by neglecting to include the water inflows during the recent drought years into its new Water Management Plan that it submitted to TCEQ for approval.  Due to numerous letters and requests for hearings, TCEQ has delayed its approval of the plan at least 10 months until it conducts its own evaluation process.

State leaders indicated that our water needs were a high priority in the 2013 legislative session.  As a result, only two legislative “baby steps” bills were passed and signed by the Governor.  Although welcome, these will not solve the Texas water problems.
HB4 presented by Representative Allan Ritter allows a one time allocation of $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to finance water projects in the State Water Plan.  20% of the fund will be used for conservation and reuse projects.  10% must be used for projects in rural Texas.
SB198 presented by Senator Kirk Watson allows for the installation of more drought-proof landscapes, limiting HOA's ability to prevent xeriscaping or more efficient yards.

Now we need to do something about the way water is handled in Texas!


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