Matagorda County stands to lose thousands of acres of rice and the millions of dollars that go with it over a shortage of water, officials said this week. The Lower Colorado River Authority said no Highland Lakes water will be available to agricultural customers this year in Matagorda, Wharton and Colorado counties as severe drought conditions show no signs of relief in the near future. The Hill Country’s lake reservoirs from Lake Buchanan and Travis have been impacted by the drought affecting inflows and levels in the water supply.

The state-approved Water Management Plan requires the agency to cut off Highland Lakes water to agricultural customers in the Gulf Coast, Lakeside and Pierce Ranch operations based on the intensity and duration of the drought and the amount of water in the lakes in early March. The combined storage recorded in the lakes was at 1.037 million acre-feet on March 1, or about 52% of capacity.

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