Iowa Public Television


Water Proposal Could Devastate Texas Rice Industry

posted on September 23, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - About 170 farmers in a South Texas
rice-producing region could lose their main source of water next
year under an emergency drought measure approved by the Lower
Colorado River Authority.

A last-minute compromise Wednesday allows more time for rain
before the cutoff, as the river authority tries to preserve water
during one of the worst droughts in Texas history.

But it's still left downstream farmers in three counties
wondering how they'll keep their operations going.

If given approval by state regulators, the authority would not
release water from Central Texas dams to coastal irrigation canals
if the stored water in the reservoirs falls below 850,000 acre-feet
on March 1. The current storage is 789,000 acre-feet. Farmers found
some relief in a last-minute agreement to delay the cutoff from
Jan. 1.

Tags: agriculture drought irrigation rice Texas