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.