Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pumps Gone

The City will pay to rent the pipes until March, when Council reconsiders pumping the South Pool. 

The City will study other ways to move water from the South Pool.  This will generate engineering business for someone. 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Council Stops South Pool Pumping

On October 16th San Angelo City Council stopped the pumps at Twin Buttes Reservoir's South Pool.  Gajeske's pumps will be removed, but the piping will be kept in place.  The City plans to revisit pumping March 1 of next year. 

Water Czar Will Wilde expects the South Pool to increase to where water is flowing through the Equalization Channel in early 2013.  The city also plans to explore other ways of tapping the South Pool.  Alternatives include:

1.  Pipe through the dam to the South Concho River bed (now dry)
2.  Deepening the equalization channel
3.  A more permanent version of what the city's been doing to move water from the South Pool to the North, only with buried pipe and a fixed pump house.

The Bureau of Reclamation expects the city to pay 100% of any project.  Expect to see pumps return to the South Pool, unless there's a biblical rain.

Update:  Despite the vote on October 16, pumps were running yesterday.  It seems council didn't specify a date in their motion. 

Update 10-26-12:   A drive over the equalization channel this evening showed no flow.  The pumps are stopped.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

City's Numerous Faces on South Pool Pumping

This seemed worth posting here, given the city's continued pumping of the South Pool, despite a half year's increase in supply (at Twin Buttes alone) from recent runoff.

This decision should have been made by City Council, as indicated in an October 1, 2012 City of San Angelo press release.

The City has been pumping water from Twin Buttes’ south pool to its north pool. Those pumps have been shut down to save on expense until the City Council decides Friday whether to continue the pumping operation.

Council didn't decide.  Instead San Angelo's water czar unilaterally declared to keep pumps running and the public locked out. I find this odd as City Council only approved pumping for one month when they addressed the item this summer.  The topic hasn't surfaced since in Council chambers.

I expected City Council to at least approve a budget amendment given plans to pump longer than two months, the time predicted to pump the South Pool down to less than fish kill levels.

That time frame changed, given this post, published just days before our record runoff producing rains:

... until the pumping operation is complete near the first of the year
Since then the South Pool increased by 2,000 acre feet.  At 77 acre feet a day, it should take 26 days to drain the increase.  Add another 10 days and the total volume could be sucked dry.    The South Pool could be gone by Thanksgiving.

The City has no urgent need to pump South Pool water, given the North Pool sits at nearly 12,000 acre feet, an increase of 7,000 acre feet.  Council owes the public several public approvals and the right for people to be heard.  Pushing it off on the water czar is both bad leadership and poor policy.

Update 10-8-12:  City Councilman Paul Alexander thought the pumping had been stopped and would not restart without City Council direction.  He sees no need to pump the South Pool during our low evaporation months. 

Update 10-16-12:  City Council silenced Gajeske's pumps at the South Pool, likely until spring of 2013.  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

South Pool Pumps Restarted

An October 1 City of San Angelo press release stated:

The City has been pumping water from Twin Buttes’ south pool to its north pool. Those pumps have been shut down to save on expense until the City Council decides Friday whether to continue the pumping operation

Water Utilities Director Will Wilde said consolidating the water in the north pool would reduce the amount lost to evaporation and would make it available for release into Nasworthy and downstream into the water treatment plant.
I toured the South Pool today to find Gajeske's pumps roaring.  Council likely decided to keep pumping.  The initial bid came in at a cost of nearly $135,000 a month. 

Will Wilde's evaporation savings come into play during our hot dry summers.  There's little evaporation to be saved for the next eight months.  The North Pool's increase from recent rains equals half of San Angelo's annual usage, so there's no urgency on moving water from a "dead pool."  It takes two months or less to pump the South Pool dry, given no runoff.

An urgent need to drain the South Pool isn't there, however pumps are in place.  It's similar to "build it and they will come."  Install pumps and they'll be used.

Council never voted in September to pump more than one months worth of South Pool water.  I wonder what motions and discussion occurred on Friday, October 5th.  It should be on film.

Below is the reason I no longer have access to the South Pool for windsurfing:

Some knucklehead damaged the diesel tank.  I'd like to think he used his head to dent the steel.

As access is cut off to the South Pool and the City water folks haven't called me back on when it will reopen, I'll need to windsurf the North Pool.  I'm looking forward to the five foot elevation rise Councilman Alexander promised from South Pool pumping.  It'd be nice for one of his predictions to come true.

Record Rain Fails to Fill South Pool

San Angelo's water situation improved so dramatically that City Council nixed Level III Drought restrictions.  Oddly, the North Pool received 6,172 acre feet, over 75% of Twin Buttes overall volume increase of 8,101 acre feet.

The South Pool received 1,929 acre feet, bringing its volume back to 2,770 acre feet.  Might I remind City Councilman Paul Alexander of his promise, "A medium rain will refill the South Pool overnight."  We had much more than a medium rain.

While the South Pool received a significant amount of water, it didn't come close to refilling.  Failure of a theory/prediction requires its modification. 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

North Pool Doubles

The North Pool at Twin Buttes doubled in storage overnight.  It now holds more water than the combined pools held two months ago.  It's unclear how much runoff flowed into the South Pool or how it will impact the city's pumping plans.  I look forward to finding out. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Runoff Rains Bless San Angelo

                          (photo by Tim Archuleta - posted on Go San Angelo)

Rains over the past three day should produce a significant runoff event for lakes providing San Angelo water.  Combined river and creek flow reached 25,500 cubic feet per second on Saturday, September 29.  Here's the breakdown (from USGS information):

Feeding the North Pool at Twin Buttes are the Middle Concho River, Spring Creek and Dove Creek.

Feeding the South Pool at Twin Buttes is the South Concho River:

The North Concho has a flood advisory and it feeds O.C. Fisher Lake:

The Colorado River near Ballinger feeds Ivie Reservoir, which supplies San Angelo water.

If the peak water flows pictured above were aggregated in one river, West Texas would've experienced water flow at half of Niagara Falls (the night time version when water is diverted for power generation).  It's a nice image for parched people at the edge of the desert.  Such a blessing...

Cheering Tropical Storm Norman's Moisture

San Angelo received nearly 6 inches of rain since Thursday evening.  That would seem to be greater than a "medium rain", the kind that should refill Twin Buttes' South Pool overnight, at least in the eyes of City Councilman Paul Alexander.  

The North Pool took on roughly 500 acre feet of water, according to the Bureau of Reclamation website

The city let half of that through to Lake Nasworthy.  This is not the total picture as runoff can take days to reach the reservoir.  However, the base level is bleak.

The South Pool's statistics are not included in the Bureau's numbers.  Adding to the South Pool's enigma status, the City cut off access weeks ago.  Apparently, a few West Texas knuckleheads vandalized the pumps.  They cost me access last Wednesday, a ninety degree day with 20-30 mph southerly winds.  I had a fair amount of fun windsurfing at flukey Lake Nasworthy, but I'd have more at the South Pool.

Despite several calls into the Water Department, I haven't heard back as to when the pumping operation will stop and citizens have access again.  More than medium rain, overnight.... I hope Paul Alexander is right.

Update 9-29-12:  Friends showed me pictures of Spring Creek flowing at 12 to 15 feet.  They said the Middle Concho had two feet of water in it.  Both Spring Creek and the Middle Concho feed the North Pool at Twin Butters.

The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory for the North Concho River which flows into O.C. Fisher Lake.  " THE NORTH CONCHO RIVER HAD RISEN TO 8.7 FEET. THIS RIVER IS EXPECTED TO RISE TO 10.4 FEET BY THIS EVENING."

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

South Pool Dwindles

Twin Buttes South Pool continues to drop.  The City of San Angelo's relentless pumping operation exposes more shoreline every day. 

The rock below was in water when the City began draining the South Pool.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pooling the Pools?

The Standard Times headline stated:

Twin Buttes water to be pooled together 

Given the North Pool's lack of rise, vs. the five feet promise, it's more like a pass through.  According to the article the City is pumping 21 million gallons a day from the South Pool.  The city uses 20 million gallons a day, with 12.2 million coming from Ivie Reservoir.

Doing the math, the city pumped 21 million gallons a day to supply 7.8 million gallons of treated water.  Councilman Alexander went from predicting "no loss in pumping" to lamenting a 50% loss.  That means the city loses 10.5 million of the 21 million gallons in transport.

South Pool water raised the North Pool less than a tenth of an inch since pumping began.  Given the two pools relatively equal volume before pumping started, the impact should be much greater.

The City drains the South Pool to meet our non-Ivie supplied water needs.  It's neither complicated nor a combination.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Medium Rain to Fill South Pool?

Thank the Lord for rain.  I wonder if it was the medium rain Councilman Paul Alexander predicted will easily refill the South Pool at Twin Buttes.  That would be great. 

Update 9-3-12:  Councilman Alexander's promise did not materialize

Spring Rains Gone from South Pool

Three weeks of pumping dropped the South Pool to levels seen last August.

The City effectively drew down all the water from this spring's rain.  I expect to be able to windsurf the South Pool for a few more weeks.

The North Pool won't rise near the five feet promised by City leaders.  Water Czar Will Wilde said the goal was to get the North Pool up six more inches to get proper pressure for flow into Lake Nasworthy.  

City Council wants to "master develop" land around Lake Nasworthy.  If Twin Buttes and O.C. Fischer dry up, Nasworthy will be it.  How much will master development restrict public access to the water at Nasworthy?  It remains to be seen.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Water Czar Changes Tune on Pumping Loss

It's funny how city leaders delivered a dramatically different story than promised and did so with a straight face.  Months ago, the city promised no water would be lost in pumping the contents of the South Pool into the North. 

On August 21 San Angelo's Water Czar presented the following slides to City Council (with my highlighted additions)

City leaders would have more credibility if they'd come clean with the public.  Do they believe there is no institutional memory?  . 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Alexander's Two Faces on Water Loss

Months ago San Angelo City Councilman Paul Alexander suggested water could be pumped from the South Pool at Twin Buttes to the North Pool with no loss in transfer.  He changed his tune in the August 21 City Council meeting:

"There are ways we can save our water by changing up the system a little bit," Alexander said, having said that about half of the water is lost in the journey from the Twin Buttes South Pool to the North Pool to Lake Nasworthy to the water treatment plant.

I like to call the faces sitting up high "The Rushmores."  Did Paul Alexander add a second face?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tale of Two Pools

San Angelo's Water Czar showed City Council the dramatic drop in water volume at Twin Buttes Reservoir. Willl Wilde failed to show the breakdown in that volume between the South and North Pools. The four data points above came from the Bureau of Reclamation website for Twin Buttes

The North Pool is way down, while the South Pool is higher than a year ago due to spring rains.  Council approved pumping for only one month.  I expect they'll authorize a second month of South Pool pumping at their next meeting.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

South Pool Receding

The City of San Angelo stated it would pump 25 million gallons of water a day from Twin Buttes' South Pool.  The three pumps Gajeske installed hum around the clock.  City leaders represented pumping in the following manner:

1.  There would be no loss of water in transferring water from the South Pool to the North, i.e. no seepage or thirsty vegetation.

2.   Pumping would occur during a low evaporation time of the year.  It started August 1, at the height of summer heat.

3.  Transferring water to the North Pool will raise its level five feet and dramatically reduce evaporation loss.
The rock picture above shows a shrinking South Pool.  What's the data show for the North?

It will be interesting to see how much the North Pool rises from draining the South Pool. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

South Pool Pumping: Day 3

Click the right pointing arrow to advance through today's pictures Pumping South Pool 8-3

For slide #4: The rock pictured was completely dry on 8-5-12.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Pumping South Pool: Day 1

I checked out Day 1 of pumping at Twin Buttes South Pool.  Pipes were extended into the water (intake) and the Equalization Channel (outflow).  Pictures can be seen by scrolling through the document below:

South Pool Pumping Day 1

Monday, July 30, 2012

City's Pumping Setup at South Pool

Below is a slide show of pictures taken of the pumps and piping at Twin Buttes Reservoir's South Pool.  Click the forward arrow at the bottom of the slide set to see the pictures.  Don't forget the city's assumptions for the transfer and projected savings, no water loss and pumping during low evaporation time of year.  Missed it by that much...    San Angelo’s Draining of South Pool at Twin

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pumping Just Days Away

The City plans to commence emptying the South Pool starting August 1.  Water will once again flow through the Equalization Channel to the North Pool, courtesy of several large pumps.

The pad is next to the public access area for the South Pool.  It remains to be seen how loud the pumps are.  The City said it would maintain access to the South Pool during pumping.  The schedule approximates a regular workday, with the public having to leave around 5:00 or 6:00 pm.  That was the city's position several weeks ago. 

The pictures are from July 21 when I sailed a light air longboard and a 7.5 square meter Naish sail.  I doubt I get much workweek time on the water, but hope to chronicle the draining of the South Pool on weekends. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

South Pool Pumping Weeks Away

The pad for Gajeske's pumps sits next to the only public access to the South Pool.  I wonder how loud the pumps will be when operating?  A path has been cut to pipe the water.

Water will be pumped to the boat ramp in the Equalization Channel.

Once it starts on August 1, half of the Equalization Channel will have a flowing stream.

The City's assumptions of saving on evaporation by combining the two pools and no seepage look highly suspect. 

This may soon be a fond memory:

Pray for Councilman Alexander's medium rain that will refill the South Pool overnight.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

South Pool Pumping to Start August 1

The City of San Angelo will begin emptying the South Pool at Twin Buttes on August 1.  The picture above shows where the city will house pumps, at least that's my assumption.  It differs from a prior plan shown to Council:

I can see why the city didn't want to build a road base to the location indicated above.  It appears they will pipe the water to the area around the Equalization Channel's boat ramp. 

I took pictures the morning of July 4th, when I windsurfed the South Pool and got some great rides on a 6.6 sail and 130 liter shortboard.  The pump location next to the public area raised concerns about access to the South Pool after August 1, so I e-mailed Carl White. Parks Director for the City.  Carl got back to me quickly, which I appreciate:

The (South) pool will be open during the day even after the pumping starts, which will be 1 August. The public will have access to the South Pool during the day. The pool will be closed during the evenings. I got the understanding that the pool would be closed by the contractor after their work was complete for the day around 5-6 pm.

That cuts out weekday windsurfing after work, but at least I can get weekend access.

I'll take pictures to show the progress.