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For first time, Texas rice farmers denied irrigation water due to persistent drought
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) ' A Central Texas river authority said Friday that Hill Country lakes fell short of levels sufficient to provide irrigation water to downriver rice farmers.
That makes 2012 the first year in which the farmers will not get the water from the Lower Colorado River Authority.
As of Friday morning, lakes Travis and Buchanan were about 3,200 acre-feet, or more than 1 billion gallons, short of the level they'd need to reach for the farmers to receive water.
At current lake levels, a small percentage of farmers, those with senior water rights along the river, will get about 20,000 acre-feet of water. The rest will not get any.
Rice farmers have been preparing for such a situation for months.