Lakes LBJ and Marble Falls being temporarily lowered

LCRA has temporarily lowered lakes LBJ and Marble Falls to assist lakeside property owners in recovering from recent historic flooding along the Colorado and Llano rivers. The drawdown makes it easier for residents to remove debris, dredge and maintain or repair docks, retaining walls and other infrastructure.

Lake LBJ has been lowered about 4 feet and Lake Marble Falls about 7 feet. The drawdown began Dec. 30.

On Feb. 1, LCRA announced it was extending the drawdown timetable by three weeks – to March 18 – to allow property owners more time to complete their work. LCRA added five days to the timeline in early January after pausing the lowerings for several days after widespread rains prompted LCRA to open a floodgate at Tom Miller Dam.

The refill is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 18, and conclude on Friday, March 22.

LCRA lowered Lake LBJ from its normal operating range of 824.4 to 825 feet above mean sea level (feet msl) to about 820.8 feet msl. LCRA can only lower the lake about 4 feet without risking impacting operations at the Thomas C. Ferguson Power Plant on Lake LBJ. In addition, drawing the lake down lower than 820.8 feet msl would hinder TxDOT's work on the RM 2900 bridge that was destroyed during the October floods.

Lake Marble Falls was lowered from its normal operating range of 736.2 to 737 feet msl to a range of 729 to 730 feet msl.

The water released from lakes LBJ and Marble Falls totaled about 26,000 acre-feet and caused Lake Travis to rise a little more than a foot. The U.S. Army of Corps of Engineers has allowed LCRA to temporarily store up to 1.3 feet of water from the drawdown in the flood pool of Lake Travis, up to a lake level of about 682.3 feet msl, from Dec. 30 through April 1.

Water supply and hydroelectric operations are continuing during the drawdown. Lake levels are measured at the dam that forms each lake. Water levels may be higher and fluctuate more at the upper ends of the lakes when water is being passed through the lake.

Unforeseen circumstances such as floods or extended power emergencies could prompt LCRA to change or cancel the drawdowns. Equipment and tools should not be left in the lake unattended and should be removed from the lakebed when not in use.

Permitting requirements

Residents and property owners who want to perform dredging, remove debris or work on existing retaining walls during the drawdown must register their projects with LCRA.