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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Texas Drought Leaves Lakeside Resort Far From Shore

A commercial marina's docks are yards away from the waterline of White River Lake, Texas, due to ongoing drought conditions, July 9, 2013. (Betsy Blaney/AP)

A commercial marina’s docks are yards away from the waterline of White River Lake, Texas, due to ongoing drought conditions, July 9, 2013. (Betsy Blaney/AP)

Texas is experiencing a historic drought. While 2011 was the hottest year on record for the state, 95 percent of Texas is still in some form of drought.

One of the hardest hit areas is Central Texas in the Highland Lakes region, which until recently was a major tourist destination.

Two lakes, Travis and Buchanan, are the primary water supply for 1 million residents, mostly those living in nearby Austin, now the 11th largest city in the U.S.

When the lakes are full, they’re roughly the size of the island of Manhattan. The lakes are now at about one-third capacity, and about three feet from their lowest level in history.

The lakes are so low that many of the hotels and restaurants that had thrived for decades have closed down.

John Williams, who owns Thunderbird Lodge and Resort on Lake Buchanan, is planning to change his business into an event center, since it is no longer a lakeside lodge.

“The state climatologist predicts that this drought may last another five to 10 years,” Williams told Here & Now. “If that happens, I don’t think you will be able to truck in water for over a million people.”

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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