Farmers ratchet up rhetoric on LCRA order
December 23, 2013, 6:07 pm by James Walker
With a crucial decision looming at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on whether to approve an emergency request by the Lower Colorado River Authority that would curtail water from the Highland Lakes to downstream rice farmers for a third straight year, the farmers and their allies are aggressively promoting the notion that the order could put all of Texas agriculture in jeopardy.
The decision by the LCRA board of directors in November to set the trigger point for releasing water from the lakes for use by the rice farmers in 2014 to 1.1 million acre feet of combined storage in the Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis reservoirs on March 1 means that farmers, ranchers and other agriculture entities’ senior water rights "can be put aside” to respond to a water shortage, prominent rice farmer Ronald Gertson warned recently.
Rice farmers and their allies have argued that the 1.1 million acre feet trigger point is too high and expressed the fear that it will set a precedent.
The trigger point for emergency orders the previous two years was 850,000 acre feet.
Milo Hamilton, a senior economist with firstgrain.com of Austin, which bills itself as anelectronic community serving the world rice industry and features original commentary, news, weather, and market information, offered a scorched earth assessment of the LCRA board’s decision Nov. 20 to ask for the emergency order and the 1.1 million acre feet trigger point.
Elected officials in the
"All along we have expected them to vigorously contest it at TCEQ,” said Jo Karr Tedder, president of the Central Texas Water Coalition. "This is an attempt by them to stir up concern among other entities, not just ag, but environmental and the duck hunters, too.”
For the full story pick up a copy of Tuesday's Highlander or Wednesday's Burnet Bulletin.
|©2014 Llano County Journal. All rights reserved. All items contained on this site are property of the Llano County Journal.
714 Ford Street, Llano, Texas 78643 - Phone: (830) 693-4367