The Colorado River and Highland Lakes - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community The Colorado River and Highland Lakes - LCRA - Energy, Water, Community

The Colorado River and Highland Lakes

The Highland Lakes on the lower Colorado River are northwest of Austin in an arid part of Texas that is prone to both floods and serious droughts.

Lakes Buchanan and Travis, the two water supply reservoirs in the Highland Lakes, were designed to fluctuate, capturing water during rainy times and holding it for use when the weather turned drier. The lakes have provided a reliable water supply for Central Texas since Lake Travis was completed in the 1940s.

During droughts, levels in lakes Buchanan and Travis decrease as water stored in the lakes evaporates or is used by cities, industries, power plants and agriculture. This is exactly how the lakes were designed to operate.

Lake levels

How full are the lakes?

Managing the lakes through drought

LCRA manages lakes Travis and Buchanan under a state-approved Water Management Plan to supply water to users throughout the lower Colorado River basin. As droughts worsen and the combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis falls, LCRA curtails the amount of interruptible stored water available for agricultural customers. Under LCRA’s Drought Contingency Plan for Firm Water Customers, LCRA will request firm customers such as municipalities and industries implement water conservation procedures to reduce water use.

Current conditions

River Operations Report
Daily report on routine water supply operations at the dams.

Flood Operations Report
As needed report on emergency flood operations at the dams.

Inflows into lakes Buchanan and Travis (.pdf)
February inflows totaled 9,867 acre-feet, which is about 12% of the February historical average and about 28% of the February historical median.

Lake levels
Current lake level information.

Basin streamflow summary
Current streamflow data in the basin.

Lake level projections

Lake Travis (.pdf)

Lake Buchanan (.pdf)

Combined storage of lakes Buchanan and Travis (.pdf)

Historical lake levels

Daily lake levels and combined storage (.pdf)

Lake Buchanan (.xls)

Inks Lake (.xls)

Lake LBJ (.xls)

Lake Marble Falls (.xls)

Lake Travis (.xls)

Lake Austin (.xls)


Water conservation tips and LCRA conservation programs.

Bob’s blog on Central Texas weather
Weather forecasts from LCRA’s chief meteorologist.

Water use restrictions
Links to LCRA customers’ watering schedules.
Drought conditions in Texas from NOAA and NIDIS.

Water data for Texas
Drought dashboard from the Texas Water Development Board.

Drought in Texas
Information from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Texas A&M Forest Service
Information on burn bans, forecasted fire danger and drought.