A Unanimous Vote by LCRA Leaves Rice Farmers in the Dust
By Jean-Paul McDonald, Farms.com
On Tuesday, January 8, 2013 a unanimous vote was declared by the LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) to not release water from the Highland Lakes, which means no water for downstream rice farmers in Texas.
After a devastating drought that engulfed Texas and much of North America in 2012, water levels in area reservoirs are simply too low to continue providing water for rice farm irrigation. This not only means absolute uncertainty for the futures of area rice farmers, as it also interferes with Texas’ $200 million rice industry and jeopardizes the livelihoods of thousands who work directly or indirectly in the rice sector.
"We need an awful amount of water in the next two months for there to be any amount of water available for release downstream,” Becky Motal LCRA General Manager said. The LCRA has been looking into creating three new reservoirs downstream of the highland lakes - "To the extent that we can capture rain, in another part of the basin downstream it is going to give us more options, and a greater portfolio of water supply," Modal said.
Farmers have been praying for rain and continue to hold on to the hope that the water will once again start flowing through their paddies.