December 21, 2012 – When the 83rd legislative session begins in January, Texas lawmakers will return to a city of brown lawns and low lakes. Austin has withered, getting just 3 percent of its normal rainfall for the past two months, and Lake Travis has fallen to 36 feet below normal. Most of the rest of the state is also still struggling through a severe drought. If there is a silver lining, it is that after years of hand-wringing from water experts, Texas seems poised to get serious about financing water projects. Top officials, including House Speaker Joe Straus, have said water legislation will be a high priority.