Texas Water
3:46 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

LCRA Could Stop The Flow Of Water To Rice Farmers For A Third Straight Year

The Lower Colorado River Authority may soon be requesting permission from the state to stop the flow of irrigation water headed downstream to Texas rice farmers from the Highland Lakes.

A statement released by the LCRA detailed the staff recommendation.

Ronald Gertson with the group the Colorado Water Issues Committee, which represents the interest of Texas rice farmers, said for the last two years rice farmers have been cut off by the LCRA.

"After two years of getting nothing and basically surviving on crop insurance benefits and looking like those benefits won’t be there for a third year in a row, all of our cards were on getting something back going," Gertson said.

The LCRA is also considering increasing the lake level trigger from 850,000 acre feet to 1.1 million acre feet of water before they release any water downstream. Gertson said if the LCRA is successful it will mean an estimated $300 million hit to the Texas economy.

"This is Wharton County, Colorado County and Matagorda County -- these are the main rice producing counties in the state," he said.

The LCRA will hold a public hearing regarding the matter on Nov. 19 before the board decides whether to submit a request to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.