Lake Travis Nears Full

Lake Travis, after years of low levels due to drought conditions, almost has reached full capacity. At 675.92 feet, it is only about five feet short of “full,” 681 feet.

After very heavy rains this fall, the levels have continued to creep up steadily, rising almost four feet over the last 30 days alone. And, remarkably, Lake Travis has risen more than 50 feet over the course of 2015.

In 2014, inflow into Lake Travis was the second lowest ever recorded, and the lake level reached near record lows. But, with a wet winter season expected courtesy of El Nino, it looks like the lake may be fully recovered by early 2016.

When the lake rises above full level, flood gates are opened under the supervision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to release excess water downstream. The highest level Lake Travis has reached is 710 feet.

Residents along Lake Travis hope that the worst days for lake levels are over permanently, or at least will be soon. This is due to plans by the Lower Colorado River Authority to build a reservoir further down the Colorado River in Wharton County near the Texas Gulf Coast that will minimize the need for water to be released from Lake Travis to downstream areas. The reservoir will allow LCRA to capture water and hold it, adding up to 90,000 acre-feet per year to the water supply, and is expected to be completed by 2018.

In addition to providing drinking water to over a million people, the Colorado River powers almost four million homes during periods of typical consumption.

Pictured: Lake Travis during the recent drought, before the rises of 2015.