Posted: Sun, 12 Jun 2016 11:39 AM - 2,936 Readers
By: Carlos Garcia
The Lower Colorado River Authority re-opened some of its lakes Friday, just in time for the weekend. Water managers are also advising anyone boating or swimming to be watching out for flood debris. But, since reopening, scores of boaters have been out on Lake Travis. As our Carlos Garcia reports, potentially dangerous waters couldn't keep nature lovers away from some fun under the sun.
Since reopening, boats have filled up Lake Travis.
The lake level is still well above its 681 foot capacity, but the water is slowly receding.
That's the reason the Lower Colorado River Authority opened Lake Travis for recreational boating.
Since reopening Friday, many have hot the water to enjoy the outdoors.
Time Warner Cable News went to the lake to catch up with some boaters who say, despite the dangers, they've been looking forward to the weekend for quite some time.
"There is no better way to spend it than out here on this beautiful lake that is now full instead of being in a drought all the time. We can actually come out here and enjoy it. So that's what we're out here to do man, have a good time," said boater James Beltran.
While Lake Travis has reopened, Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake are still closed for watercraft use.
Be Aware of Swift Currents and Submerged Dangers
On its website, LCRA said, "Flows throughout the Highland Lakes remain strong, and anyone boating or swimming should use caution and be on the lookout for debris and submerged objects. Flood management operations continue at all dams on the Highland Lakes. Water continues to flow over the spillway at Inks Dam, which has no floodgates."
LCRA recommends everyone on a boat wear a life jacket any time they are on or near the water.
Life jackets are a particularly good idea now, when flows are especially swift and Lake Travis has risen into its flood pool.
During current conditions, boaters on the Highland Lakes should slow to planing speeds at night for safety.
LCRA said debris and submerged objects pose even greater hazards at night, when they can be difficult or impossible to see from a distance.
Bacteria Levels High
Authorities also say bacteria levels in the Highland Lakes are higher than normal, so they're asking people to have fun but use caution when swimming.
Anyone choosing to go in the water now should avoid areas with debris, or where the water is not clear or foam is visible.
LCRA said unlike swimming pools, natural bodies of water such as the Highland Lakes are not chlorinated or disinfected, so swimming in a river, lake or pond always carries some risk of exposure to bacteria.
Young children, the elderly and others with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of getting sick from exposure. Bacteria levels generally return to more normal levels a few weeks after the last rainfall.
Explore the Highland Lakes Reservoirs
Understanding the Highland Lakes reservoirs can help sort out what's been going on with all the recent flooding in Central Texas.
The lakes are part of an intricate system involving the Colorado River, dams and the water supply for a major slice of Texas.
If you'd like to learn more about the Lower Colorado River Authority
visit their website.