The amount of water being pumped out of Lake Meredith this summer is going to see an increase.
On Monday, the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority’s board of directors took a unanimous vote to increase the amount of water being pumped out of the lake. The total amount will increase from 5,000 to 6,300 acre-feet. An acre-foot of water amounts to over 325,000 gallons.
CRMWA’s member cities, which are Amarillo, Borger, Brownfield, Lamesa, Levelland, Lubbock, O’Donnell, Pampa, Plainview, Slaton, and Tahoka, could not meet demand this summer. Requests were made for more water to get through the end of summer, according to CRMWA General Manager Kent Satterwhite.
He said total allocations have been dropping for several years now. Historically, CRMWA has allocated 80,000 plus acre-feet from the lake.
“Lake allocations have been steadily dropping for the last 10 years (as we have replaced lake water with our new well water) and this year we had only allocated 5,000 acre-feet from the lake,” Satterwhite said. “The problem is, the wellfield is limited in its delivery capacity, and even though we can deliver 65,000 acre-feet per year from it, we can’t pump at a rate to keep up summertime peak demand. That is when the lake is needed.”
He said CRMWA had planned on using the 5,000 acre-feet during June, July, and August. The member cities have used only 87 percent as much as they have historically, but even with this reduction, Satterwhite said it can’t keep up by spreading 5,000 acre-feet over the three months.
“This additional 1,400 acre-feet will allow us to keep up the current rate through August,” he said.
CRMWA looked at the effect of allocating another 1,400 acre-feet from Lake Meredith. Satterwhite said it would have an insignificant effect on lake levels and other factors.
“With zero inflow into Meredith, the additional 1,400 acre-feet means about nine inches less by next June,” he said. “With some inflow, the effect is even less.”
Part of the reason for the minimal impact, he said, is that if the water is not used, it evaporates anyway. By using an additional 1,400 acre-feet, CRMWA will see 300 less acre-feet evaporate.
“As of the end of June, we had pumped 2,577 acre-feet and evaporated 9,679 acre-feet,” Satterwhite said.
In regards to the pumping of water at Lake Meredith, Rozanna Pfeiffer of the National Park Service said there is still plenty of water in the lake for recreational activities.
“The fishing has been fantastic, and there is still boating, swimming, and sunning. The boat ramp at Sanford-Yake remains open, and has recently been lengthened,” she said.
Pfeiffer also said there are lots of other activities in and around the Lake Meredith area, which include hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, picnicking, etc. She also said Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, the only national monument in the State of Texas, is still a welcome site for visitors to see.
“In addition to the ranger-led hikes to the flint quarries, our native garden is in bloom and is fascinating,” she said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to learn about the native plants of this area and how they were used by the American Indians and the early settlers. Come on out and see us!”