Leadership Austin kicks off its 2013-14 season with a panel to discuss water issues

A new season of Engage Breakfasts, presented by Leadership Austin, starts off the 2013-14 season Oct. 2 with a look at the Central Texas drought and its effect on Austin.

"I think for everyone here, water is in the top three [important issues]—water, transportation and health care," Leadership Austin interim CEO Christopher Kennedy said.

Kennedy added that the discussion is going to focus on what would happen if drought conditions become worse than the drought of record, the worst water shortage in state history and the gauge used to measure subsequent shortages.

Leadership Austin is a nonprofit organization that seeks to build civic engagement and connect leaders in the community.

The first breakfast will include Heather Harward, founder and executive director of H2O4Texas Coalition; Greg Meszaros, director of Austin Water Utility; and Becky Motal, general manager of the Lower Colorado River Authority. KXAN anchor Leslie Rhode will moderate the discussion.

Motal said the drought is serious and affecting people throughout Central Texas, but Austin has had the benefit of periodic rain. She mentioned one noticeable sign of the drought for Austinites is dying trees.

"For us, we're losing some oak trees," Motal said. "It's really affecting the native trees, and that's a great concern."

Motal said even though drought conditions are nearing the worst they have ever been, Austin will not run out of water.

"We're in a serious drought," she said. "There's a water-management plan that contemplates that there will be time when there is drought and the lakes will go down. That's the whole history of why the lakes were built, to catch flood waters when it does flood—and it will flood—and then to use that water and draw it down when it doesn't rain. So there is adequate water."

Kennedy said this season of the Engage Breakfast is going to be different from previous years through fewer speakers, more pointed topics and making a clear call-to-action.

"I think the major shift is, what is the community not talking about around a topic area," Kennedy said.

The breakfast starts at 7:30 a.m. in the Kodosky Lounge at The Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive. Tickets are $25.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.leadershipaustin.org/program/engage/upcoming.



MOST RECENT

COVID-19 precautions such as a masking requirement remain in place at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Courtesy Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)
'Signs of hope' on the horizon at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after year-plus dip in air travel

Rising passenger counts, new airline operations and an increase in vaccinations could all support the airport's recovery in 2021.

A University of Texas office tower is under development at the downtown Central Health site formerly home to the Brackenridge hospital campus. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Central Health's 'cornerstone' downtown site moving forward on path to redevelopment

Much of the site's future scope is yet to be determined ahead of a May 20 rezoning hearing before City Council.

Photo of a man climbing on a rock wall
Four Austin institutions celebrate anniversaries

Crux Climbing Center and Austin Vet Hospital are among the businesses hitting milestones in May.

Capital Metro bus
Capital Metro announces increased transit services for Austin FC games this season

Capital Metro has increased the frequency of several bus routes for Austin FC game days at Q2 Stadium.

masks
CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

The property has been a redevelopment and neighborhood revitalization target for years. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin evaluating 6 plans to redevelop 19-acre St. John site into mixed-use district

The city has long been seeking to rejuvenate the St. John neighborhood property off I-35 with new housing, retail and recreational space.

Students at Norman-Sims Elementary School and Austin ISD's 124 other schools across the district will now be allowed to remove masks during outdoor physical activities with the permission of a parent or guardian. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD makes outdoor masking optional, eases other health, safety restrictions

Students engaging in outdoor physical activity will now have the option to remove masks.

Photo of the Indeed Tower in downtown Austin
Four Central Austin businesses on the move

These Austin businesses are relocating.

Sienna at the Thompson will include 331 apartment rental homes on floors 15 through 31 of the Thompson Hotel, under construction in downtown Austin. (Rendering courtesy Magellan Development Group)
Forthcoming Thompson Hotel in downtown Austin will include apartment rental homes, restaurant from Chicago-based group

Sienna at the Thompson will provide 331 units on floors 15 through 31 of the hotel, while Land and Sea Department will be opening a restaurant on the fourth floor.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.