Austin’s Water-Bucket Is Going Dry   6 comments

Oasis- art II framed blogThe Oasis On Lake Travis — 2002 Image by kenne

Today, voters in Texas have an opportunity to help determine how the state will be able to fund future water needs, especially considering recent trends in population and climate. As reported in StateImpact, “The state’s reservoirs are currently just over 60 percent full.” The continued drought throughout the southwest continues to worsen an already dire situation.

Recently we were visiting family and friends in the Houston area and on our return trip to Tucson, spent a couple of days in the Austin area. Having heard how low Lake Travis is, we went to The Oasis On Lake Travis for lunch, a scenic location we had visited several time over the years. 

Oasis-8610 blogLake Travis is currently 33% full. — Images by kenne

The Oasis, because of its high venue over Lake Travis has fared much better than many businesses on the lake. Another well-known restaurant on the lake, Carlos’n Charlie’s, open for nearly twenty years, shut down September 2, 2013. Jeff Beckham wrote in the NY Times article, “With Lakes Drying Up, Businesses are Parched,”

“The closing of Carlos’n Charlie’s was the latest and most visible business impact of the drought. In the past, thousands of patrons would arrive by boat and car to watch the restaurant’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show and listen to live music. But the boat docks have been unusable for more than three years.”

Oasis-8612 blogOne of the Oasis decks well above the current lake level.

“In 2011, a coalition of governments, nonprofits and businesses commissioned a study to calculate a baseline economic and fiscal value to the area surrounding Lake Travis. The Lake Travis Economic Impact Report found that when the lake level dropped below 660 feet, visitor spending dropped by up to $33.8 million, resulting in up to 241 lost jobs and $6.1 million in lost wages a year. Lake Travis has been below 660 feet since April 2011, and the current level is about 620 feet.” (NY Times)

The last time Lake Travis was full was 2007.

Oasis-8613 blogLunch-Time at the Oasis (October 28, 2013)

Currently, public boat ramps are closed on the lake and most residential boat decks are hundreds of feet away from the residence, high and dry.

Oasis-8618 blog“High and Dry” On Lake Travis

Jeff Beckham quoted Pete Clark, co-owner of Carlos’n Charlie’s — “It’s kind of like a sick friend in the hospital right now, but it’s still a friend and it’s still a great place. And it will be again.” 

Let’s hope he’s correct, but like it or not, the odds are not good.


6 responses to “Austin’s Water-Bucket Is Going Dry

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  1. That is certainly bad new. I hope the drought breaks but NM is in terrible trouble from years and years of drought. Last time I was there everything was awful. I saw one bird. Not a cloud in the sky. The poor people…jobs…bad situation.


  2. This situation across the SW is quite serious, drought and growing populations are creating a burden that cannot be easily overcome. Your photos and text serve to highlight a small portion of this real issue. While mother nature has to ultimately supply water, conservation steps must be taken or sustainability will be impossible. Thanks for this reminder!!


  3. What a serious situation. Thanks for sharing the pictures so we could better understand.


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