Widespread rainfall from the storms Friday produced less than one inch across the Hill Country and as a result no significant runoff occurred in the rivers and tributaries flowing into the Highland Lakes. Downstream of the Highland Lakes, rainfall rates ranged from 1 to 2 inches with some locations near Columbus and Bay City receiving almost 3 inches.
The storms have moved out of the Colorado River watershed and no additional rainfall is expected at this time. While no rivers or tributaries are expected to reach bankfull or flood stage, the flow in the lower river below Columbus will be slightly elevated over the next few days as the runoff from the event makes it way to Matagorda Bay.
Due to the ongoing severe drought, LCRA has no plans to lower any of the pass-through lakes this winter. The pass-through lakes are lakes Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls and Austin.
Releases from Lake Austin are made as needed to meet customer needs, replace water that evaporated from Lady Bird Lake and along the lower river, and to supplement the natural flow of the lower river for environmental flow requirements. Releases are made consistent with all applicable water rights and agreements.
Customers taking water from the Colorado River downstream of Lake Austin include Fayette Power Project, industrial customers in Matagorda County, the City of Pflugerville, Decker Creek Power Station, Lost Pines Power Park and others. Environmental flow requirements include TCEQ requirements to maintain instream flows along the lower Colorado River and supply freshwater inflows to Matagorda Bay and estuary.
Releases from Lake Travis will be made as needed to supply water to customers along Lake Austin, and to replace water that is released or has evaporated from Lake Austin. Customers taking water from Lake Austin include the City of Austin, West Travis County Public Utility Agency and others.
Releases from Lake Buchanan will be made as needed through Buchanan, Inks, Wirtz and Starcke dams to replace a portion of the water taken by cities, power plants, evaporation and other uses along lakes Inks, LBJ, and Marble Falls, and to replace a portion of the water that is taken or released from Lake Travis. Customers taking water from the Highland Lakes above Mansfield Dam include the City of Cedar Park, Travis County WCID No. 17, the City of Leander, Lakeway MUD, Ferguson Power Plant and others.
In addition to passing through releases from upstream dams, water may be released from lakes Inks, LBJ, Marble Falls and Austin to pass through runoff from localized storms and control the level of these lakes.