Annual inflows exceed the average for first time in almost a decade
The amount of water flowing into the Highland Lakes in 2016 was more than in any year since 2007, the year of the historic Marble Falls "rain bomb."
Inflows into the Highland Lakes in 2016 totaled more than 1.62 million acre-feet – about 35 percent more than the historical average of 1.2 million acre-feet. Inflows are the amount of water flowing into the lakes estimated from measurements at four gauges upstream. (An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.)
Inflows into the Highland Lakes in December were 60,455 acre-feet, about 89 percent of the December historical average.
Thanks to periodic heavy rains and overall wetter-than-normal conditions, lakes Travis and Buchanan remained above their monthly average elevations the entire year, and LCRA projections show lake levels will remain above average into spring, even if conditions are drier.
The last year with higher inflows than 2016 was 2007, when the Marble Falls area received 18 inches of rain in six hours. Other areas of the Hill County also saw significant amounts of rain during that storm, which contributed more than a million acre-feet of flood water to the Highland Lakes.
On Jan. 2, 2017, LCRA began lowering lakes LBJ and Austin to give lakeside property owners an opportunity to repair and maintain docks, retaining walls and other shoreline property, and aid in curbing the growth of nuisance aquatic vegetation. The drawdowns will last 6 weeks, and will be completed by Feb. 13. For more information, see the
lake lowering webpage.
Highland Lakes were created to
manage floods and capture water when it rains to ensure the region has a reliable
water supply during dry times. Lakes Travis and Buchanan provide water for more than a million people and to industries, businesses, the environment and agriculture in the lower Colorado River basin.