A Texas agency may restrict water supplies to Gulf Coast bays, estuaries and rice farmers for a third straight year.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is holding a hearing Wednesday to consider the request by a Central Texas water authority.
The Lower Colorado River Authority says lake levels are so low water cannot be released downstream for rice farmers to irrigate their fields and to replenish salty bays that need freshwater to balance their ecosystems. The river authority also wants to increase the trigger at which it can limit downstream releases in the future.
Rice farmers and environmentalists agree the lakes are at historic lows, and don't believe water can be released at this time. They oppose the move to permanently increase the trigger for downstream supplies.