Study shows lakes have major impact on economy
September 25, 2012, 9:01 pm by James Walker
Burnet County commissioners and other Highland Lakes stakeholders Tuesday were briefed on the findings and results of a county-commissioned economic impact study and were told there is hard data that shows lake fluctuations, especially long-term droughts, have tremendous negative consequences for Burnet and Llano counties.
Highland Lakes stakeholders have long contended that their otherwise sound arguments and complaints about LCRA’s management of the water in the lakes were lost on decisionmakers because of a lack of data.
Policies such as continuing to send large amounts of water to rice farmers in Matagorda, Wharton and Colorado counties, even in times of severe drought and low lake levels, were devastating to Highland Lakes residents, businesses and property owners, they argued.
The results of the economic impact study give weight and authenticity to those arguments, said Pix Howell, a community planning consultant who worked with the Austin firm TXP to compile the study.
"This has long been the biggest missing piece for Highland Lakes stakeholders in their argument for better management of the water in the lakes,” Howell told the commissioners at their Tuesday meeting. "This is a baseline study of what happens when the lake levels fluctuate.
"It’s baseline information that you can use when talking to influential people.”
Central Texas Water Coalition President Jo Karr Tedder, who led the recent months-long effort by Highland Lakes interests to convince the LCRA board of directors to accept historic changes in the authority’s water management plan, was happy with the results of the economic impact study.
For the full story, see Wednesday’s Bulletin.
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