"Remembering an all-too brief greeting with the Bushes" by: Mike Reddell

     I’ve been fortunate in my reporting career to have met several high-profile personalities, most of whom were politicians of different stripes.
   But I did get to meet former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara when their airplane landed in Kerrville in the early 1990s.
   I was on city council then and part of an entourage greeting the Bushes who were en route to the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg.
   A 23,000-square-foot George H.W. Bush Gallery was dedicated there in 2009.
   Getting to meet Bush was an honor and I can assure you he and his wife were gracious and friendly, greeting all of us personally.
   As an Aggie, I’m glad he placed his library at A&M, enabling it to be part of his rich legacy.
   The Austin American-Statesman’s Tuesday edition had a lengthy article on the LCRA and its downstream water plans.
   With the Arbuckle Reservoir near Lane City to go online in 2019, LCRA is revising its water management plan to curb the flow from the Highland reservoirs to agricultural users in dry times, the newspaper reports.
   Basically, that plan would ensure LCRA can meet the water demand of Austin and other high-paying municipal customers in drought conditions without drawing down the Buchanan and Travis storage reservoirs below 600,000 acre-feet. 
   And, to keep the Highland reservoirs at higher average storage levels, LCRA will have a more conservative cutoff point for rice farmers in Matagorda, Colorado and Wharton counties.
   That cutoff would occur when the lakes combined storage falls below 1 million acre-feet, as opposed to the 900,000 acre-feet in the previous water plan.
   That would allow the combined average storage to go from 1.55 million acre-feet to 1.68 million acre-feet.
   Matagorda County and other Colorado River basin rice farmers aren’t happy with the last restrictions.
   Well-known rice farmer Ronald Gertson is quoted as saying the Arbuckle Reservoir will be a plus for farmers.
   It will offset the growing demand from firm-water customers, like the cities.
   The Central Texas Water Coalition, representing the interest of Highland reservoir property owners, said LCRA’s latest revisions don’t do enough to protect Central Texas’ water supply, even with the addition of the Arbuckle Reservoir, the newspaper said.
   Instead of that 600,000 acre-feet minimum during drought, the coalition wants that raised to 750,000.
   LCRA will vote on the new water management plan at its December meeting and there’s lots of local farmers who will be watching.


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