Fraser: LCRA’s Matagorda decision ‘poor’
September 12, 2013, 7:02 pm by James Walker
The Lower Colorado River Authority's poor management of the water in the Highland Lakes continues to make the ongoing record-setting drought more severe for Central Texans, Sen. TroyFraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, said Wednesday following the utility's decision to release water from the lakes to protect fish and shell fish in Matagorda Bay.
"That was a poor decision by the board and I am not happy about what was done,” Fraser said of the LCRA's board of directors vote Tuesday to direct the utility's staff to proceed with the release of more than 8,600 acre fee of water from the fast shrinking Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis reservoirs to satisfy its obligation to provide freshwater environmental flow into the bay. "LCRA's management practice makes the drought more severe.”
Fraser is the chairman of the Texas Senate's Natural Resources Committee which has oversight over water issues in the state.
In another development Thursday, LCRA board chairman Tim Timmerman said LCRA had no plans to lower any of the pass-through lakes — Austin, Marble Falls, LBJ and Inks — to combat the drought.
"Our Board is looking at innovative ways to expand and extend our water supply, but the idea of lowering the lakes is not and has not been a serious consideration,” said Timothy Timmerman, chairman of the LCRA Board of Directors.
LCRA is responsible for the management of the water in the Highland Lakes and Fraser, and lakes interests have said that the utility's failure in that regard is a primary reason that water storage in Lake Buchananand Lake Travis likely will fall below 600,000 acre feet next month.
If that happens, LCRA would declare that the region is in a Drought Worse Than the Drought of Record and institute a mandatory 20 percent curtailment for firm water customers like cities and municipalities who depend on the lakes as their source of drinking water.
"Yes, we are in a record drought but if they (LCRA) had been managing the lakes correctly we would not be facing the severe problem we are now,” Fraser said. "This is another prime example of that mismanagement.
"They have had a good bit of rainfall in the lower basin and they didn't need to vote for that release. It is much more important that that water be left in the upper basin.”
For the full story, see the weekend edition of The Highlander.
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