A Texas regulatory panel has approved a measure that could stop water from Colorado River lakes upstream from Austin to downstream farmers next year if the ongoing drought doesn't break.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality voted unanimously to allow the Lower Colorado River Authority to withhold all water releases. The commission and the authority describe the goal as to protect municipal and industrial customers and to keep farmers from planting a crop that would die of thirst later.
The LCRA website says the total combined storage in the LCRA's two water storage reservoirs, Buchanan and Travis, is 37 percent of capacity.
If the drought persists, the LCRA order would slow or stop Highland Lakes water releases to irrigation districts downstream from Interstate 10, except to meet contract requirements.