Drought Left the Texas Hill Country, Lake Travis Refilled
The Drought and Its EffectsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Drought Begins in the Texas Hill Country
The end of the recent drought is near In 2010. Two years ago, the Texas Hill Country and central sections of Texas entered a season of severe drought! Rain was rare and the hot searing sun helped to create a dry parched land! Some lake levels were reduced to half of their original levels. Lake Travis suffered severely and so did the businesses around its banks. Boating on the lake was difficult! It was so severe that summer that docks were not only dry, but were left many feet away from the wet outer edges of a dwindling lake! Marinas were extended far into the reduced waters in an effort to make boating available to their customers.
August began with mere streams where inlets of water once stood and boats once danced upon the waves. Weathermen reported that Lake Travis had reached fifty percent of its usual levels during these hot months. I am sure that the water conditions created a financial disaster for many businesses along the waterfront! Plants and vegetation were greatly damaged. Where did all of the water go?
The Texas Hill Country Drought
Entire inlets in the Texas Hill Country were dry from lack of rain. Only a small trickle of a stream at the lowest point of this inlet could flow. Huge areas of parched land were exposed to the dry climate of summer. Most lake vegetation dried up and disappeared! Cracks in the land were exposed as the sun beat down on the rocky soil day after day! Cloud cover was hard to find!
The Rains Began to FallClick thumbnail to view full-size
Changes in the Hill Country Drought
The Texas Hill Country had several days of rain, slow soaking rain. In September of 2009, the drought began to break. The runoff from the hills continued days after a rain, increasing the lake levels slowly. The rains were like a bathtub with a dripping faucet. It took awhile to see the changes on the outskirts of the lake! As you can see, Lake Travis is slow to rise!
More WaterClick thumbnail to view full-size
Hill Country Lake is slowly rising!
Sure there was a lot of land around Lake Travis that still remained exposed and uncovered by waters that once were. More rain fell and the waters slowly rose. That once small stream that barely trickled became a small body of water that continued to expand. Streams of water come from several directions to feed more liquid into thE thirsty lakes. The sun glistening on the water on a beautiful and cold January day brought hope! Hope shines through!
February 4, 2010Click thumbnail to view full-size
February and Lake Travis is Rising!
It rained steadily for two days. Some of the showers were slow and soaking, others were downpours that lasted for various periods of time. The water continued to flow at a rapid pace. Needless to say, we acquired more rainfall and Lake Travis Rose! The boat ramp is no longer totally exposed to the elements, but its base touches the rising body of water. Lake Travis is begin to look like a lake again instead of a creek or expanding river. There is more rain in the forecast for the next week. Hope rises!
February 5, 2010 Rising WatersClick thumbnail to view full-size
Changes in Lake Travis
The rains in the Texas Hill Country moved on and the clouds are departed! The runoff from the hills was swift and powerful, filling the lake with a steady flow of water. My favorite little inlet began to fill and the islands in the middle of the main Lake slowly disappeared beneath the rising waters. Our water supply increased! The local boat ramp became available for the hearty soul who wanted to brave the cool waters. The unsightly orange cones disappeared that had marked dry shallow areas! It was truly exciting to see the daily changes in our area!
February 6, 2010Click thumbnail to view full-size
Forty Eight Hours Later
This day dawns bright and sunny. It is still cool in the shade, but some brave boaters have ventured on the water due to the cooperating lake levels! The water continued to flow from the hillsides into Lake Travis and the difference became increasingly evident! The boat ramps were not only open, but boaters were able to enjoy a Saturday ride. More land was covered and a steady stream of water was flowing into the lake from several different locations.
The sides of the roads leading to the lake were still lined with puddles and small streams as the water running off of the hills headed to lower ground, eventually the lake. It would take an entire week for the ground to dry. The weatherman forecast more rain for the next week. Clouds were collecting in preparation for the change in weather!
It was exciting to watch the healing of the land!
Lake Travis on February 10, 2010Click thumbnail to view full-size
Lake Levels Have Increased!
I continue to be amazed at how fast Lake Travis filled up. Wow! There was another rainy day with about an inch of rain. The effects on the lake were much greater than the mere inch of rain that fell from the skies! The streams of water continued to pour off of the hillsides and add significant amounts of water to Lake Travis. Daily visits to the lake were exciting as each day produced a marked change in the water levels!
February 12, 2010Click thumbnail to view full-size
What a Difference Some Rain Makes
Lake Travis was not full yet, but it was looking better than it had in a very long time. The water continued its' flow patterns from the surrounding hillsides because of another large amount of rain. You can see from the photos that there is still dry land to be covered, but the boats are again able to navigate into the main body of the Lake and the marinas are enjoying decent water levels again. Mr. Weatherman predicted five days of sunshine. There was sufficient runoff to continue Lakeland increase even with the cool sunny days!
Lake Travis Drought Gone!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Look, There Is Water Everywhere!
The rains continued to pour more water into this lake and raise the lake levels. For the first time in over a year, the Lake Travis water levels were adequate. It was not overflowing, but adequate. It is still early in the year and more rain is forecast. The parks are open, the boat ramps are being used, and lake homeowner boat docks are where they need to be.I am ending this blog on a positive note. The two year drought came to an end and Lake Travis looked like a lake again! I celebrated with the business owners, property owners and park and recreation department! The dry creek beds were once again were flowing with water.
Ninety Percent FullClick thumbnail to view full-size
Middle Of March
It is the middle of March and the weatherman says Lake Travis is 99% full! We had to drive to our little inlet and take some pictures! Even the last few days have made a difference in the lake levels. Just a few days ago, we could see land that is no longer dry, but nicely covered with water. Looking good!
2013 And Our Current Drought
As summer heat envelopes our area in July, I am once again amazed! It has been a cooler summer than normal and we have had several inches of rain in the last month. Yet today, Lake Travis lake levels are hovering at less than forty percent full! We are experiencing another lengthy season of drought! Our local weatherman proclaims that we will need twenty inches of rain to break this drought. Just as the rains filled our lakes three years ago, I still have hope for a repeat of the same pattern of healing and recovery described above! Let's pray for rain!
Lake LevelsClick thumbnail to view full-size
After a wetter than usual Autumn, Lake Travis is just forty percent full. During recent Fall and Winter rains, the showers fell in areas outside the Lake Travis watershed. In the last week, we have had two ice storms pass through the area. As the ice has melted, it has added more moisture to the local lakes.
We are starting the new year with an urgent need for rain! As our local population continues to grow, the demand for water also increases. It would be wonderful to see the lakes full again and to begin our summer with plenty of water!