Central Texas drought restrictions eased after recent storms

Officials with the Lower Colorado River Authority announced on Monday they are easing drought restrictions in our area, from Stage 2 to Stage 1.

The change comes after Central Texas saw a very rainy May.

"Since the beginning of the month of May, we've gotten 6.2 inches of rainfall," said FOX 7 meteorologist Leslie London.

That rain fell not just in Austin, but over the critically-important Highland Lakes.

MORE: LCRA returns to Stage 1 of drought response as lake levels rise

"That’s where we need the rain to fall. And in May, that's where it fell," said John Hofmann, Executive Vice President for Water with the Lower Colorado River Authority.

As a result, Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan have seen a combined 14% increase in their water levels. Right now, Lake Travis is 42% full and Lake Buchanan 74% full.

"The levels have come up enough to where we still have conservation measures in place, but they're not as significant as what they were," said Hofmann.

As a result, the LCRA, which provides water to more than 40 local cities and water districts, including Austin, made the decision to ease their drought restrictions from Stage 2 to Stage 1. Generally speaking, that means you can water your lawn twice a week instead of just once.

However, it’s up to individual cities to officially change the rules locally.

"Even though our situation is improved, we're not out of the woods yet," said Hofmann.

Hofmann says it’s still important to pay attention to your water use, and avoid wasting water.

"Now is really not the time to completely throw caution to the wind and not pay attention to conserving our water resources," said Hofmann.

And with summer just a couple of weeks away, London cautions the drought situation could once again get worse.

"The bad news is we're now heading into more of the drier season. So we only have a couple of chances of rain this week. And it does look like it's going to start to be more of that pattern as we head farther into the summer," said London.

For a complete list of current local water restrictions, click here.