Public Notices

Lake Texoma in drought management mode

Published Aug. 29, 2011

TULSA – The Red River Basin, including Lake Texoma, is currently experiencing an exceptional drought. Monthly inflows into the lake have been well below average, resulting in a pool elevation that is also below normal. In fact, June and July inflows were less than 10 percent of average.

The Red River Basin, including Lake Texoma, is currently experiencing an exceptional drought. Monthly inflows into the lake have been well below average, resulting in a pool elevation that is also below normal. In fact, June and July inflows were less than 10 percent of average.

Low lake levels also impact recreational users. Boaters can expect more water hazards and exposed sand bars. B. J. Parkey, assistant lake manager, said larger vessels may have difficulty navigating in marina areas, and all vessels may experience extremely shallow water conditions in various locations of the lake. Vessels equipped with a depth finder are strongly encouraged to closely monitor the water depth. "And as always, please wear your life jacket in case you strike an underwater obstacle and are ejected from the vessel," Parkey said.

At this time, two Corps boat ramps are closed, Juniper East and Preston Bend. Ramps within various marinas and other outgrants may also be inaccessible. Hot water temperatures along with limited inflows also increase the risk of harmful bacteria.

The Tulsa District operates under a Drought Contingency Plan that outlines specific actions at various elevations as reservoir levels drop. In the plan, drought levels are numbered 1 through 4, with 4 being the most severe. Drought Level 1 is considered an alert phase in that drought conditions are developing but operations are otherwise normal. On August 17, 2011, Lake Texoma dropped below pool elevation 612, and the lake is now operating at Drought Level 2 which activates the Corps’ Drought Management Committee.

Drought Level 2 (elevation 612 for Texoma) means the lake storage has fallen to 77 percent of its full conservation pool storage. In Drought Level 2, hydropower generation is made when it is needed for rapid response and short-term peaking purposes. Regulation of the lake is coordinated daily with the Southwestern Power Administration, the responsible federal agency for marketing and scheduling the hydroelectric power at Lake Texoma. SWPA, a member of the Lake Texoma Advisory Committee, has generated only about 25 percent on average since October 2010 to conserve storage whenever possible and is operating in accordance with all approved plans and procedures.

At Drought Level 2, the Corps monitors storage, withdrawals, and low flow releases; manipulates outlet works to minimize leakage; and continues water storage accounting. The Corps Drought Management Committee is activated to coordinate and consider critical issues. Pool elevation projections are developed, and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Texas Water Development Board are notified when 50 percent of the conservation storage remains. Contracted water users are notified when they have exceeded 50 percent of their storage allocation. News releases and postings to the district’s home page and social media sites are used to keep the public informed.

The Tulsa District, Corps of Engineers, is responsible for the regulation of the water stored in Lake Texoma for the purposes of flood risk management, hydropower, water supply, fish and wildlife, recreation, and navigation. No matter the drought stage, the Corps website, www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil, always provides current water level information.


Release no. 11-068

ArticleCS

Lake Texoma in drought management mode

Published Aug. 29, 2011

TULSA – The Red River Basin, including Lake Texoma, is currently experiencing an exceptional drought. Monthly inflows into the lake have been well below average, resulting in a pool elevation that is also below normal. In fact, June and July inflows were less than 10 percent of average.

The Red River Basin, including Lake Texoma, is currently experiencing an exceptional drought. Monthly inflows into the lake have been well below average, resulting in a pool elevation that is also below normal. In fact, June and July inflows were less than 10 percent of average.

Low lake levels also impact recreational users. Boaters can expect more water hazards and exposed sand bars. B. J. Parkey, assistant lake manager, said larger vessels may have difficulty navigating in marina areas, and all vessels may experience extremely shallow water conditions in various locations of the lake. Vessels equipped with a depth finder are strongly encouraged to closely monitor the water depth. "And as always, please wear your life jacket in case you strike an underwater obstacle and are ejected from the vessel," Parkey said.

At this time, two Corps boat ramps are closed, Juniper East and Preston Bend. Ramps within various marinas and other outgrants may also be inaccessible. Hot water temperatures along with limited inflows also increase the risk of harmful bacteria.

The Tulsa District operates under a Drought Contingency Plan that outlines specific actions at various elevations as reservoir levels drop. In the plan, drought levels are numbered 1 through 4, with 4 being the most severe. Drought Level 1 is considered an alert phase in that drought conditions are developing but operations are otherwise normal. On August 17, 2011, Lake Texoma dropped below pool elevation 612, and the lake is now operating at Drought Level 2 which activates the Corps’ Drought Management Committee.

Drought Level 2 (elevation 612 for Texoma) means the lake storage has fallen to 77 percent of its full conservation pool storage. In Drought Level 2, hydropower generation is made when it is needed for rapid response and short-term peaking purposes. Regulation of the lake is coordinated daily with the Southwestern Power Administration, the responsible federal agency for marketing and scheduling the hydroelectric power at Lake Texoma. SWPA, a member of the Lake Texoma Advisory Committee, has generated only about 25 percent on average since October 2010 to conserve storage whenever possible and is operating in accordance with all approved plans and procedures.

At Drought Level 2, the Corps monitors storage, withdrawals, and low flow releases; manipulates outlet works to minimize leakage; and continues water storage accounting. The Corps Drought Management Committee is activated to coordinate and consider critical issues. Pool elevation projections are developed, and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Texas Water Development Board are notified when 50 percent of the conservation storage remains. Contracted water users are notified when they have exceeded 50 percent of their storage allocation. News releases and postings to the district’s home page and social media sites are used to keep the public informed.

The Tulsa District, Corps of Engineers, is responsible for the regulation of the water stored in Lake Texoma for the purposes of flood risk management, hydropower, water supply, fish and wildlife, recreation, and navigation. No matter the drought stage, the Corps website, www.swt-wc.usace.army.mil, always provides current water level information.


Release no. 11-068