Tribpedia: Lower Colorado River Authority

The Lower Colorado River Authority is a conservation district managing natural resources along a 600-mile stretch of the Colorado River, notably supplying wholesale water and energy for the drought-stricken Central Texas.

The LCRA manages water supplies in the Lower Colorado Basin stretching from San Saba to the Gulf Coast, which consists of the Blanco, Burnet, Llano, Travis, Bastrop, Fayette, Colorado ...

The Colorado River is shown east of Longhorn Dam in Austin. The capital city is almost entirely reliant on the Colorado River and its system of dammed reservoirs for water,
The Colorado River is shown east of Longhorn Dam in Austin. The capital city is almost entirely reliant on the Colorado River and its system of dammed reservoirs for water,

TCEQ Defers Decision on Rice Farmers Along Lower Colorado

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has decided not to take action yet on a controversial plan that would almost surely cut off water from rice farmers in the lower Colorado River basin for a third straight year. 

Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.
Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.

LCRA Proposes Emergency Drought Measures for 2014

As the Highland Lakes in Central Texas continue to dwindle to near-historic lows, the Lower Colorado River Authority is recommending unprecedented steps to cut back freshwater releases.

Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.
Residents of Lake Travis have extended staircases and moved docks further out to accommodate lower lake levels. Some say the declining levels are bringing down property values.

Bad News Expected Today for Texas Rice Farmers

Texas rice farmers near the Gulf Coast are anxiously awaiting word on whether they'll get water from the Lower Colorado River Authority for a rice crop this spring. The LCRA says the farmers' prospects are not good — which will relieve other Texans who also have a stake in the water.

David Freeman, when he was general manager of the LCRA during the 1980s
David Freeman, when he was general manager of the LCRA during the 1980s

S. David Freeman: The TT Interview

The former general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority talks about rebuilding the organization after the "Trailergate" sex scandal, the environmental failures of public power and why electricity deregulation is a "huge mistake."

Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.
Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.

LCRA Approves Emergency Drought Plan, Which Will Hurt Farmers

At a board meeting on Wednesday, the Lower Colorado River Authority approved an emergency plan that could cut off water supplies to downriver rice farmers entirely next year if the drought worsens.

Low water levels at Lake Travis because of drought; photo taken May 16, 2011.
<p>Low water levels at Lake Travis because of drought; photo taken May 16, 2011.</p>

LCRA Planning for Drought Worse Than 1950s Dry Spell

Fearing that this drought could reduce lake levels lower than ever before, the Lower Colorado River Authority's board will meet next week to discuss reducing or ending its water sales to downriver farmers next year.

Low water levels at Lake Travis because of drought; photo taken May 16, 2011.
<p>Low water levels at Lake Travis because of drought; photo taken May 16, 2011.</p>

Highland Lakes' Levels Falling, LCRA Warns

At a press conference today, the Lower Colorado River Authority warned Austin and the rest of Central Texas to brace for continued drought. Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan, the region's major reservoirs, are currently 52 percent full, and dropping steadily.

Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.
Jose Avila, left, and Hilario Luna on June 13, 2011, repair an overflow damaged by crawdads on a levee of Mike Burnside's rice fields, flooded with water from the Colorado River, near Bay City.

Audio: For Texas Rice Farmers, Livelihoods At Stake in Water Talks

Rice farmers in Southeast Texas are braced to receive less water in the future, amid growing demand from cities.

Low water levels at Lake Travis because of drought; photo taken May 16, 2011.
<p>Low water levels at Lake Travis because of drought; photo taken May 16, 2011.</p>

Series Explores Central Texas' Water Supply

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The Texas Tribune and KUT 90.5 FM are running a five-part series this week on water supplies in Central Texas, looking specifically at the long-term future of two key lakes that supply water to Austin and other growing cities, as well as to rice farmers a few hundred miles down the Colorado River.

In Austin, Growing Water Needs and Conservation

As Austin prepares to tighten its watering restrictions to once a week later this summer, trees and lawns — not to mention the water utility's revenues — are suffering. Long-term, Austin and nearby cities want to ensure the continued health of the Highland Lakes.

At Thunderbird Resort on Lake Buchanan, a 15-foot gap has developed between this swimming platform and the water line, as the lake has fallen to 12 feet below full.
At Thunderbird Resort on Lake Buchanan, a 15-foot gap has developed between this swimming platform and the water line, as the lake has fallen to 12 feet below full.

As Highland Lakes' Levels Fall, Residents Fret

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As Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis drop lower each day, worried locals are seeing their swimming coves dry up, and it's not just because of lack of rain. Rice farmers and Central Texas cities are taking a good share of the water.