Friday, April 26, 2013

South Pool Pumping for 2013

After eleven days of pumping from the Twin Buttes South Pool, the North Pool is yet to rise in volume or elevation.  One might expect some increase from pumping 75 acre feet per day.  It's yet to be seen. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

February Water Use Doesn't Add Up

Twin Buttes Reservoir stood 1,225 acre feet emptier at the end of February.  The Bureau of Reclamation's February statistics said no water was lost to seepage or evaporation.  None went for Irrigation releases. 

Bureau statistics show Twin Buttes released 737 acre feet, 359 for municipal use and 378 acre feet to maintain Lake Nasworthy's water level.  What happened to the other 488 acre feet, almost 40% of the decrease?  The Bureau's website had no data under the Prior Rights category for 2013, but that had been at zero for the last five years,.

Weather doesn't appear to have been a factor, given cool temperatures and little rain:

At San Angelo Regional Airport, the average temperature for February was 52.3 degrees. This was 3.0 degrees above the normal average temperature of 49.3 degrees. Total precipitation for San Angelo was 0.39 inches. This was 0.96 inches below the normal of 1.35 inches.

How did 488 acre feet of Twin Buttes water disappear?  Surely the Bureau of Reclamation and the City of San Angelo have some idea as to what happened to missing 40%.  It could be a hole in the Bureau's numbers, given they built a leaky dam.  Then again, it could be something else.  How long before Water leaders shed light on this situation?

Update 4-21-13:  The City used roughly 858 acre feet in February.  Obviously, some of that water came from another source, Lake Ivie, Spence, but certainly not O.C. Fisher

Friday, April 19, 2013

Twin Buttes "Baja Style"

I heard a rumor the City wanted to drain the South Pool in order to let Dog the Bounty Hunter set up off road racing/recreation on the land.  I put that in the "horse hockey" category, knowing the Bureau of Reclamation would need to approve anything the City proposed.  However, the Twin Buttes Recreation Master Plan has the possibility of another local "loud engine" event.

The idea of an off-road “Baja-style” race to be held at Twin Buttes Recreation Area was presented by the San Angelo Dirt Riders, the Lucas Oil Baja organization, and the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce during this master planning process.

LucasOil has the boat races on Lake Nasworthy and off road racing at the City's Industrial Park.  San Angelo's future is bound up in oil, with the nearby Cline Shale formation.  It's also bound up in water, a necessary ingredient for well fracking.

Eagle Ford Shale wells use 3.5 million gallons per well.  The Cline Shale dwarfs the Eagle Ford and thousands of wells are expected.  Eagle Ford water use is 5-7% of water consumption in the region.  Our area is much drier with area lakes at distressed levels seen last summer.

Elected and business leaders see the future of San Angelo as oil.  The future is water.  Given most of the fresh water used in fracking is bound up underground, i.e. taken out of the natural cycle of evaporation, precipitation, ground soak, and runoff, I expect the desertification of West Texas to intensify.

How long before one can't tell the difference between San Angelo and Midland/Odessa?  Who would've thought Australia's post apocalyptic Mad Max to be indicative of San Angelo's future?

Local News Channel Uses TBR Blog Picture

KSAN gave a news update this morning on the City of San Angelo renegotiating ranchers's water rights in the hope of storing more water in Twin Buttes Reservoir.  After hearing this report I searched the web for more information but failed to find confirmation.

However, I did find a KLST story on pumping from last year.  It had a picture from this blog, taken from a post I'd written in early 2012 when the city went out to bid for a portable pumping system   The picture is from the North Pool and was taken at a time when pumping would not be needed.  May rain return and fill it to such levels quickly. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pumps Vector with Master Plan to Reduce South Pool Access

The Twin Buttes Recreation Master Plan vectors with the City's propensity to pump the South Pool, now an annual multi-month event.  Together they'll drastically reduce access to the South Pool, the area's only safe body of water for beginner windsurfers. 

The North Shore of the South Pool , marked by the red 1 above, has a gradual entry, which enables beginning windsurfers to learn in waist deep water.  This feature means less swimming fatigue.  Our prevailing South to Southwest winds blow struggling beginners back to shore, another critical safety element.  Access to this beach disappeared last weekend behind a locked gate   Gajeske's three monster pumps, capable of pumping 1 million gallons per day are back.

I windsurfed the South Pool for over a month before some chucklehead vandalized pumping equipment, ensuring no access except to those willing to walk from the locked gate to the water.  That's a long haul to carry a sailboard and sail. 

The "Master Plan" has windsurfers sailing from South Pool's Easterly corner, marked by the green 2 above.  It sits in a wind shadow under our prevailing South to Southwest winds.  It has a boat ramp, which makes for more hazardous entry and exit.

An overcrowded Lake Nasworthy is not safe for beginning windsurfers.  The North Pool at Twin Buttes has such varied topography.  Once the large island is completely exposed, i.e. cars can drive to it, the North Pool isn't safe to sail.

The Recreation Master Plan is no recreation for windsurfers, unless the City implements their "trusted user" program.  Having volunteered from 1995 to 1999 to clean up the City park at the North Pool, I'd like to think I'm trustworthy and a good steward of area water recreation resources.  I'll soon find out if the City feels likewise.

Update 4-16-13:  GoSanAngelo Columnist Bill Cullins e-mailed the following suggestion on securing the pumps and keeping public access to the South Pool.  "It would be relatively inexpensive to build a fenced enclosure to house the pumps (think 8 foot high, big gate for trucks, and barbed wire on top).  Doing that would allow normal access to the south-side beach."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Twin Buttes Recreation Future

Those interested in the draft Twin Buttes Recreation Use Plan can read the document at this link.  The plan is projected to go to council in May.

Add Gateway Planning's work at Lake Nasworthy and area residents could soon find our local water resources transformed.

Will either be a sailing hotbed for West Texans?  We have the wind.  The water remains to be seen, especially as fracking consumes 1.5 million gallons of water per well.  The Cline Shale is expected to have ten thousand or more wells.

A water engineer said most of the water used in fracking is "bound up" deep underground, i.e. it's removed from the natural cycle of rainfall, absorption/runoff and evaporation.

Don't forget the projected 30,000 new area residents with water demands on Lake Nasworthy and Twin Buttes.  A few years back I walked across the North Pool's Middle Concho without getting my feet wet.  I hope that's not our future.