AUSTIN — The Lower Colorado River Authority will provide downstream rice farmers with irrigation water as drought conditions ease statewide.
Supplies were cut off last year to many rice farmers who get water from Central Texas reservoirs that flow into tributaries along the Gulf Coast. The reservoirs had been severely depleted during a historic drought last year.
The Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/PL0uIb ) reports that the lakes remain less than half-full but are in better shape than they were during the height of the drought. As a result, the LCRA will not be cutting off water to the rice farmers.
Haskell Simon, who represents the rice-growing communities, estimates the lack of water caused Texas rice production in Matagorda County to drop from 24,000 acres in 2011 to only 1,500 acres this year.