As lakes Travis and Buchanan — Austin’s main reservoirs — continue to lose close to 1 billion gallons of water a day, forecasters are hopeful there is some relief on the way.
Going into the second-wettest season of the year, forecasters expect normal or above-normal rainfall, said Bob Rose, the chief meteorologist for the Lower Colorado River Authority, which manages the lakes.
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What is the drought of record?
The LCRA uses three measures to indicate that a drought is worse than the 1950s drought of record. Ultimately, the river authority’s board must approve such a declaration, which still needs to be backed up by significant checking of calculations and measurements, but soon after the three conditions are met, mandatory cutbacks in water use kick in. Customers, like the city of Austin, the LCRA’s single largest, must then cut back their water use by up to 20 percent.
1. The lakes must have been below full for at least two years. This has been met.
2. The amount of water flowing into the lakes must be less than it was during the drought of record for six months. This has been met.
3. Lakes Travis and Buchanan must hold less than 600,000 acre-feet of water. (The record-low storage is actually 621,221 acre-feet.) This has not been met.