Lake Travis still lower than last year

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Chris Warren is going about his daily routine like every other morning, making sure his boat riders are ready to go.

But as manager of VIP boat rentals in Volente, he says people aren’t asking so much about lake levels but rather whether it will rain or shine.

“Our sales are up probably 25 percent as this time last year,” Warren said. “So it actually hasn’t affected our revenue on business too much.”

But down by mile marker 16.5, the story is a little different. Businesses are constantly monitoring the lake levels. Lower lake levels means less boats can access the lake and that affects sales and profits.

Eric Von Witbeck is getting ready for business even if it’s a little damp. As general manager at the Gnarly Gar in Point Venture, he said, he and the owners prepare are always ready to deal with dry seasons.

“We live and die by the lake levels here,” he said. “When it’s very low we’re lucky enough we still we still have boat access where some of our competitors do not. But that doesn’t so do much good when the ramps aren’t open because the lake is so low.”

He said other problems can surface without enough rain. The lower the lake, the more his restaurant is pushed out into the water, stretching utility lines to the max.

“The lake levels affect more than just business traffic,” Witbeck said. “It also affects plumbing, electricity and other things like that that work with the restaurant.”

The Lower Colorado River Authority says Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are an average of 48 percent full. That’s about 17 feet below average, but almost 34 feet below average for Lake Travis. That’s very low but not nearly as low as it was last year, which was 12 feet lower than now.

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