Downstream LCRA rice farmers, related businesses suffer from drought measures
EAGLE LAKE — East of this rural town, on a street so tiny that he was able to name it for himself, 58-year-old farmer Forest English had little to do one steamy weekday morning other than wait by his GMC pickup for a UPS delivery.
English had more free time than usual because less water is headed this way.
In Austin, the severest drought in a generation broke in the early spring; here, it's as if it never ended.
The drought effectively persists in these parts because the Lower Colorado River Authority, the chief arbiter of who gets water and who doesn't, took the bold — and perhaps inevitable — step earlier this year of cutting off water for most downstream farmers for this growing season.
1. Hate to say it but growing rice during a drought in a semi-arid climate isn't the smartest thing.
Maybe they should switch to a less water demanding crop. Maybe it will pay less but if you're not using so much water it won't cost as much either.
Look at the Panhandle where they insist on growing cotton and soy-both water intensive crops and then they use highly wasteful sprinkler systems and are depleting the Oglalla Aquifer-which is fossil water and not replenished by rain seepage like the Edwards Aquifer here in Central TX.