The majority of Travis County is now in D2 drought conditions. View the drought monitor maps below and note the vast difference from prior drought monitor reports. The two major reasons for the improvement have been recent rains as well as the LCRA operating the Highland Lakes under emergency drought relief measures. The past few months have been very wet historically for Central Texas, and although we can definitely use more rain, there exists considerable reason for optimism.
One major issue has been that the LCRA has lacked the ability and authority within the current water management plan to manage long-term, severe drought conditions. These conditions are improving and current lake levels are just beginning to rise. I’ve written another article discussing the important changes in the new proposed LCRA water management plan. It is currently awaiting TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) approval. This state agency has up to one year to approve the new plan.
Here’s the 5 conditions of drought:
D4-Drought—Exceptional (Austin has been here for quite some time)
D2-Drought– Severe – CURRENT Condition -majority of Travis County
D0- Abnormally Dry – (not a drought)
Located below are three drought monitor maps which illustrate the severity of the drought and the degree of recent change across Central Texas. Clearly the change is evident since September, and more so in the last 2 months. Our newest map, on March 20th, shows that most of Travis county is under D0-D1 conditions and only part of the county is under D2. In Williamson county, approximately one half of is under D2 conditions, the remainder is under better conditions. A D0 rating is closest to non-drought conditions, and we are approaching this critical event. Positive news and catching up and refilling the lakes will soon occur. These drought maps are released each Thursday by the US Department of Agriculture.
Drought Map -September 6, 2011
Drought Map– January 24, 2012
Drought Map — March 20, 2012
For a quick animated look at the past 12 weeks across the nation:
If you would like to specify additional timeframes: Use this tool to animate the drought over the past 4, 12, 24, and 52 weeks.
As you can see, the rain in the past few days, while only a couple of inches, created a rise in the lake of around 4 feet. Currently, as of Friday March 23rd, Lake Travis is at 639.17 feet. These are considerable reasons for optimism for Central Texans.
I will continue to monitor the drought and the effects on Central Texas Real Estate. Check back for updates and more in depth analysis of the drought as well as other matters related to Austin, Texas Real Estate.
For further information about Lake Travis waterfront properties, Steve Broyles can be contacted at 512-917-4298. Steve is a Realtor and has held a Texas Broker’s License since 2003.