News: Recent rains provide relief for some Corps lakes
Story by Randy Cephus
JASPER, Texas - The rains that fell earlier this month have produced good inflows to the lakes in some parts of the state such as east and central Texas, while many other lakes north and west Texas remain well below their conservation pool levels.
The Fort Worth District manages 25 lakes within the state of Texas, with seven lakes now storing flood water. Six lakes are east of the I-35 corridor and include Wright Patman, Lake O’ the Pines, Sam Rayburn, Navarro Mills, Granger and Somerville lakes. Waco Lake is the only lake west of I-35 storing flood water.
“The Fort Worth District is coordinating releases to benefit water supply across the state of Texas,” said Chief of Water Resource Branch Jerry Cotter. “At Lake O’ the Pines, releases are being made in accordance with environmental flows agreements with our stakeholders for ecological benefits.”
Both Waco Lake and Sam Rayburn Reservoir rose into their flood pools last week for the first time in over four years. Sam Rayburn is generating hydropower for 12 hours a day with one of its two units and will continue to do so while the lake is storing flood water.
Whitney Lake saw its largest monthly inflow in May since March 2012. However, the 25,000 acre-feet of inflow only raised the lake 1 foot. Whitney Lake is still over 11 feet low heading into the summer months, and as a result, will have limited hydropower generation this summer.
The scattered rains in the western portion of the state produced little runoff, because much of it was absorbed into the ground. Consequently, most lakes in north and west Texas remain well below their conservation pools.
Most of the lakes in the Trinity and Brazos River basins are below 70 percent of their conservation pool, where several lakes are at least 10 feet below their conservation pool levels.
Recreational impacts continue at many of these lakes as a result of the continued drought conditions. All three west Texas lakes report a number of facilities, boat ramps and swimming beaches closed.
Eleven of the 17 central Texas lakes are reporting closures of facilities such as boat ramps, courtesy docks, and swimming beaches due to low water conditions.
For the five East Texas Lakes, the outlook is much better where none are reporting boat ramps closures due to low lake levels.
“Drought conditions continue to persist in west Texas, while the eastern portion is no longer experiencing drought conditions,” Cotter stated.
For additional information on individual lakes in the Fort Worth District, go to the following website:
The Facilities Closure Report maintained by CESWF Operations Division may be found at: http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/drought/drought.htm