At the Leadership Austin Engage Breakfast meeting held this last week, an Austin water official said that Austin’s current severe drought conditions are the worst ever.
Greg Meszaros, director of Austin Water Utility, as reported in Community Impact, said, “This is not an ordinary drought. In Central Texas, we get accustomed to it being dry and we become complacent. … This is a cumulative effect of years of some of the driest weather, from an inflow perspective, ever experienced around the state. From Austin’s perspective, certainly the first six years of this drought, compared to the drought of the ’50s which was a 10-year drought, this drought is worse.”
Meszaros went on to warn that Austin was shortly going to move to Stage 3 water restrictions and that citizens needed to be prepared. “It’s important that you follow the rules and educate yourself,” Meszaros said.
Attendees were told that 93 percent of Texas is in a drought and about half the state is classified as being in a severe drought. The Highland Lakes, where Austin gets some of its water, are at around 33 percent capacity. When the combined storage for the Highland Lakes reaches 600,000 acre feet of water, the area will be in the drought of record. As of Sept. 27 the lake levels were at 660,000 acre feet. Stage III restrictions will occur if the lake levels fall to or below 600,000 acre feet.