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Did the recent rains in Central Texas help our lake levels?

“The landscape changes every year,” said Corbin Cornwell, co-owner of Big Tex Boat Rentals.

AUSTIN, Texas – Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner, so have lake levels in the area improved with the recent rains?

“This peninsula used to be completely underwater,” said Corbin Cornwell, co-owner of Big Tex Boat Rentals. “You can see where the cliffs are that weren’t there a couple of months ago or the year before.”

Cornwell spends a lot of time on Lake Travis, but not as much as he used to because of the lower lake levels.

“The landscape changes every year,” Cornwell said.

He said because their main storage site at Mansfield Dam is closed until water levels rise, they have had to look for other places and ways to store their boats, which has cost them money.

“Instead of spending maybe $500 a year, now it’s about $10,000 per boat per year,” Cornwell said.

He said that, fortunately, demand has not slowed down and he expects Memorial Day weekend to remain busy, with most boaters coming to Lake Austin.

“Considering that a lot of the boat companies have had to move their boats out of Lake Travis or can no longer launch them in Lake Travis, all those guys are going to Lake Austin now,” Cornwell.

Big Tex will be launching on Lake Travis and Lake Austin.

Looking from above at Lake Travis, you can see how much rock is exposed due to the lower water levels. Yes, the rain that has fallen in Central Texas in recent weeks has helped, but it has not ended the drought.

Over the past 30 days, water levels have risen about a foot and a half, but are still about 6 inches lower than this time last year, and 49 feet from full.

Lake Buchanan has risen 8 feet in the past 30 days, but is still 40 feet below its peak level.

“So people are going to have to be careful with their water,” said Shannon Hamilton, executive director of the Central Texas Water Coalition..

Hamilton said while we need more rain, this recent batch saved us some time before hitting a record low in the Highland Lakes system.

“If it doesn’t rain, instead of us talking about water rationing in August, maybe it will extend into the fall,” Hamilton said.

Central Texas continues to suffer from extreme drought.

“I’m worried,” Cornwell said. “Long term, if Lake Travis ever runs out of water, that’s our biggest fear.”

Both are waiting for big storms to come and fill the lakes.

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