Staying safe on Lake Travis during low lake levels

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As temperatures continue to heat up, Central Texas families will look for ways to stay cool. For some, that means taking a dip in our lakes. However, the Lake Travis level is low. The most recent level recording from the Lower Colorado River Authority shows the lake at 653.83′ Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

The last time the lake dropped that low was in September 2018 when the lake fell to 653.8′.


Lake Travis drops to lowest level since September 2018

There are steps people can take to be safe whether they plan to swim or boat on Lake Travis.

When it comes to swimming, LCRA’s John Hofmann said people should remember, “lakes aren’t swimming pools, and the bottom of the lake is uneven.”

Hofmann explained there are sudden drop-offs and irregularities in the lake bottom.

“One minute you can be in two feet of water, and then the next minute, you can be dropped off into 40 feet of water in just a step or two,” Hofmann said.

With low lake levels, swimming areas push people further out into the lake.

“You really need to pay attention to where you are and understand that in this reservoir, water reservoir environment, particularly during a drought cycle, drought period, like what we’re in right now. Things will change,” he said.

As the lake drops, boaters could also face a new hazard. One example – sandbars or piled-up debris in areas where they weren’t before. 

“Just because you may be familiar with an area, maybe you went there last summer doesn’t mean it’s gonna look. And more importantly, it won’t navigate the same way that you did before,” Hofmann explained.

At Lake Austin, Austin Police Department’s Lake Patrol reports it has seen a spike in boat purchases and boat traffic in Lake Austin and has noticed inexperienced boaters who do not understand the rules of the water and the proper safety equipment. They’ve also seen a “massive jump” in paddle boarding and recreational activities at Lady Bird Lake so far this season.

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