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TCEQ OKs limits on downstream releases
Thursday, March 5, 2015 by Tyler Whitson
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality gave the Lower Colorado River Authority permission Wednesday to limit the amount of water it releases downstream this year from lakes Travis and Buchanan for the fourth year in a row. Citing the persistent drought afflicting the two Central Texas reservoir lakes since 2008 — now officially the worst on record — the LCRA made the request Nov. 19 through two emergency orders. One asked to cut off water releases for most downstream irrigation in 2015, while the other asked to reduce the amount of water the TCEQ requires the LCRA to release in the spring to support the downstream habitat of the threatened blue sucker fish. Though TCEQ commissioners made some modifications to the emergency orders, LCRA spokeswoman Clara Tuma told the Austin Monitor that the nonprofit public utility is “very pleased” with the decision. The Lower Colorado River Basin Coalition, which represents downstream interests, asked in a news release for additional support throughout the river basin. Co-chair Kirby Brown said that “more intensive water conservation and enforceable drought management would spread the burden more equitably.”
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