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Lake Travis Water Level

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Open floodgates at Mansfield Dam raising water levels on Lake Austin

Posted: Sat, 4 Jun 2016 08:55 PM - 2,368 Readers

By: Bettie Cross

The view is beautiful, but on Friday the conditions along the Colorado River are being called dangerous. Water equivalent to 15 Olympic size swimming pools is spewing from Tom Miller Dam, on Lake Austin, every minute. At Mansfield Dam, on Lake Travis, even more water is being pushed downstream. The last two days of rain have pushed the limits of what the Colorado River can handle. Nowhere is that more apparent than on Low Water Crossing Road just downstream of Mansfield Dam.

Barricades are up and no cars are allowed on part of Low Water Crossing Road. But tempt kids with a bridge spewing, spurting and gushing water and the road becomes a barefoot paradise.

Hannah Keahey knows the Colorado River usually runs well below the bridge, but on Friday it's a water playground.

"It hasn't been this high my entire life," said Keahey. "I like when the waves will come over the bridge. It feels like I'm at the ocean."

The waves of water are being churned out by three open floodgates at Mansfield Dam.

"It's impressive," said Justin Bishop.

The father and his boys live on Lake Austin. They like the view from back behind the fence, but this rising water is already seeping into their lakeside neighborhood.

"The docks are flooded," said Bishop.

The threat isn't lost on the steady stream of parents and kids lining up for a look.

"Very fast, dangerous and cool," said nine year old Wyatt Martin.

Right now there are no plans to open a fourth floodgate at the dam. Even the youngest visitors know what it would mean to heave more water downstream.

"No, it would be way too dangerous," said Avery Applewhite and Caitlyn Dorsey, both nine years old.

The water on Lake Austin has been going up three or four feet per floodgate.

"We need a break," said Justin Rankin.

Justin and his wife Katy think three is enough.

"We're hoping they don't open a fourth because it would probably be over the bridge and closer to our house," said Justin Rankin.

"Our neighbors, their boat dock is under water so it's getting real close," laughed Katy Rankin.

Right now Katy can still laugh. If Austin sees more rain upstream both the bridge and the fun are likely to disappear.

*  Story Contributed by: Bettie Cross


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