Eminent Domain and Controlling Mother Nature
© Richard Wasserman, 2012
Although the development of the Buchanan Dam and other dams was connected to a complex of business and political interests, a primary purpose of the Lower Colorado River Authority dams and water control has been to level out the extremes created by Mother Nature. Periodic droughts mirrored by floods and wet spells can wreak havoc on rural and urban areas alike. Although the recent drought years shrunk Lake Buchanan and hit businesses hard, a new weather cycle may be turning things around.
Information from the Texas Water Development Board shows that since its construction the Lake Buchanan (reservoir) has had its ups and downs. The post 2010 drought was been exceptional and had a particularly strong negative impact on the level of stored water. However, since the beginning of 2015, the Buchanan Dam has been demonstrating its function in moderating the impact of extreme weather on the region. 2015 was a year of heavy rains and floods in the lower Colorado River basin. It has helped authorities to moderate the flooding resulting from 2015’s exceptional rainfall. Austin normally receives about 32 inches per year in 2015 the city recorded 60 inches. The dam is holding on to these flood waters and once again approaching capacity. Compared to January 2015 when Lake Buchanan was at 34% capacity, in January 2016 it was at 82% capacity.
Lake Buchanan water storage January 2015-January 2016
 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office, Austin Camp Mabry, TX – 2015. Website: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ewx/?n=climategraphs Accessed January 23, 2016.