More Dam Facts

Even if the rain stops soon, river levels could stay high for weeks.

With the continuing rains and the already saturated soil meaning water levels continue to rise, the Lower Colorado River Authority is saying local river and lake levels could stay high for weeks. This means they'll have to keep opening floodgates across the Colorado dam system well into July.

The river is still below flood levels, although it has reached "bank full" status at several points, and the LCRA is balancing river and lake levels around the clock to keep it that way (even their press officers are working 'round the clock to keep people up to speed). To manage this, they're using Lake Travis as storage and managing the levels upstream by controlled floodgate usage at the Buchanan, Mansfield, Tom Miller, Wirtz and Starcke dams. The water dumping over the Inks Dam spillway, just for context, is now four to five feet high.

Recreational boating bans remain in effect on Inks Lake; lakes Travis, Marble Falls, LBJ, and Austin; Town Lake; and the Colorado River downstream of Longhorn Dam. However, check the LCRA site, since they'll be updating the bans daily. (And just before this was posted, the city of Austin further extended its watercraft ban. See press release under "continue reading.")

Area waterway restrictions continue into next week

City of Austin officials have extended the current boating ban for all of Lake Austin, Town Lake and the Colorado River below the Longhorn Dam through noon Tuesday, July 3.

The extended ban is necessary due to the Lower Colorado River Authority’s continuing operations at Mansfield Dam and Tom Miller Dam. Flood gates have been open all week, creating very swift, debris-filled waters and unsafe conditions.

Persons with interests along these waterways should contact the City of Austin Parks Police Headquarters at (512) 974-7707 during business hours to receive written authorization to secure or remove property in the Flood Ban Area. Proof of ownership or occupancy is required.

Watercraft illegally operated on waters in the Watercraft Ban Area is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by fines up to $500 and boats may be impounded. Crossing barricades put in place on roadways or boat ramps for public safety can result in a Class B Misdemeanor, punishable by jail time up to 180 days and fines up to $2000.

City officials urge residents to be safe during a flood. Most fatalities occur when people drive through flooded roads or walk near creeks or low-lying areas. Be aware that water can rise very quickly and avoid low-water crossings. At night it may be difficult to see water on the road. Never attempt to drive, swim or walk through water that is flowing in a roadway, ditch or storm drain. "Turn around, don’t drown!"

For current flood ban and roadway closure information, visit the City of Austin’s Emergency Conditions webpage at

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Environment
Mixing Up Your Environmentalism
Mixing Up Your Environmentalism
Plateaued on your earth-friendly efforts? Here are a few ideas to help.

Bonny Chu, Nov. 30, 2018

SXSW Eco 2015: <i>Racing Extinction</i>
SXSW Eco 2015: Racing Extinction
Mass extinction is coming, and we're to blame

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 7, 2015

More by Richard Whittaker
Panic Fest 2022: <i>Dashcam</i>
Panic Fest 2022: Dashcam
Screen life horror works because you hate the "hero"

May 19, 2022

Annoying adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of pyrokinetic terror

May 20, 2022


Environment, Lower Colorado River Authority, LCRA, flood

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle