Friday, May 30, 2014

North Pool Looking Good

Twin Buttes North Pool keeps rising, ever so slowly.  A few days ago the Equalization Channel looked like the old days.

Here's the view from the North Pool's Finbuster Beach on May 27th.  The North Pool is at least a foot higher since this picture was taken:

I'll be able to windsurf the North Pool again.  For that I am grateful.

Update 6-10-14:  The North Pool is over 1899 feet elevation!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring Creek Didn't Rise Like 2012

One oddity arose out of our area's recent runoff rains.  Why didn't Spring Creek rise like its counterparts during our five day rain event.  Dove Creek and the Middle Concho River had much different flow:

Here's how Spring Creek looked in September 2012 after Tropical Storm Norman's moisture hit our area.  Its flow was over seven times greater in that flood event.

I believe a factor is diversion of the Lopez draw, which runs into Spring Creek.  An oilfield water seller drilled wells and excavated smack in the middle of the draw.

When the City of San Angelo explored capturing water from the Red Arroyo, consultants stated the state of Texas controlled water flowing through a conveyance, a place where water flows intermittently.  I assume Lopez Draw is like the Red Arroyo and the state would've needed to approve any efforts to capture the water. I doubt that occurred and suspect changes in Spring Creek flow to be indicative of diversion. 

North Pool's Rise Nearly Sixteen Feet

Most recent instantaneous value read 1,898.04 on 05-29-2014 at 17:45 CDT.  That's a sixteen foot rise from 1882. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mudders Trash Gates & Roads

The Standard Times reported:

San Angelo police are seeking information about damages to three gates, including one that was torn off the hinges, and roads at the Equalization Channel this weekend — causing $5,000 to $8,000 worth of damage.

Sometime in the late-night hours of Saturday to the early morning hours of Sunday, someone forced entry and damaged the gates and the maintained roads leading to the North Pool of Twin Buttes, police said. The vehicle then went “mudding” on the dirt road.

“One of (the gates) looked like someone hooked onto it with a big pickup and a chain and jerked it completely off its hinges,” Operations Director Shane Kelton said.

At least two other gates had latches busted or broken, he said.

This is not good news.  I lost windsurfing access for months the last time a knucklehead damaged pumps at the South Pool.

Lake and Park Police closed the gates about 5:30 p.m. Friday after the first rain spell came through the city, Kelton said. The city began locking the area years ago when officials noticed people tearing up roads every time it rained.

A Standard-Times reporter said he saw hundreds of pickups and all-terrain vehicles at the Equalization Channel this weekend.

“Once the gates came down, it was just a free-for-all,” Kelton said.

With all the debris and repair needed in the city, he said it would be quite some time before crews can fix the roads and gates.

Anyone with information about the identity or location of the person, or people, involved are asked to call the Police Department’s 24-hour Tip Hotline at 855-847-7247 or text TIP SAPD followed by the message to 888777.

When irresponsible people trash Twin Buttes, responsible users often pay the price.  I don't know the best way to deter people intent on doing harm to property, but I do want Twin Buttes to remain accessible to responsible citizens.

Part of Twin Buttes existence is recreation. I'm not sure how Twin Buttes Master Recreation Plan accommodates four wheelers of all sizes, but it bears exploration.

North Pool up Fifteen Feet

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fourteen Feet & Rising

The North Pool is up fourteen feet and it should rise more.

Memorial Day Weekend Rains Bust Drought

In five days San Angelo made up a seven inch rainfall deficit.  Not only did preciptation surge into the "above average" category, runoff rains filled Lake Nasworthy and added huge amounts to area lakes. The Standard Times reported:

As of 10:45 p.m. Monday, the National Weather Service of San Angelo reported the city’s year-to-date rainfall at 7.82 inches as precipitation was still falling. Monday’s downpour put San Angelo above the rainfall average. The normal year-to-date total for this time of year is 7.47 inches, according to the National Weather Service.
Concho River flow in San Angelo provides a picture of the rainfall events from Thursday to Monday evening.

Pecan Creek's flow is also an indicator of the rains pulses received over the five day period.

The North Concho River feeds O.C. Fisher Lake.  It stands to get more water given increased flow upstream.  Here's the view from Sterling City and Carlsbad:

So far O.C. Fisher is up roughly seven feet.

Twin Buttes is up twelve feet and tributary flow indicates more is on the way.  The Middle Concho River, Dove and Spring Creeks feed Twin Buttes North Pool.


The North Pool is also fed by the South Concho River via the Equalization Channel.

These images indicate the North Pool's elevation should continue to rise.  Twelve feet and counting.

This more than barely breaks our drought.  Our abundant holiday rains are life giving and sustaining.  They are a blessing and I am grateful.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Runoff Rains Beat Tropical Storm Norman

The Standard Times reported:

Chuck Brown, director of Operations for the Upper Colorado River Authority, said runoff amounts still are not final yet, but he estimated Twin Buttes Reservoir would catch 15,000 acre-feet, about 4.89 billion gallons. An acre-foot is 325,851 gallons.

“15,000 acre feet for Twin Buttes is a good, realistic number we could hope for,” Brown said Monday.

The North Pool is up ten feet and the South Pool is no longer a dead pool.  Tropical Storm Norman doubled the volume in Twin Buttes North Pool from roughly 5,000 to 10,000 acre feet in September 2012.  It drove away Gajeske's three pumps from the South Pool.

Memorial Day weekend rains already caused the relocation of three Gajeske pumps at the North Pool.   It remains to be seen what the City does with the remaining South Pool pumps. 

How much higher will Twin Buttes get over the next few days?  I'll let you know.

 The blessing continues.

North Pool Has Nine Foot Rise

Enough water flowed into Twin Buttes North Pool to endanger the three pumps transferring water to Lake Nasworthy.  City officials said they were trying to remove the pumps yesterday afternoon.  It's not clear if they got them out in time.  The City has not issued a press release and there have no been no followup reports from local media, but I'm assuming they were successful. 

Pumps at the South Pool are safe thanks to the Equalization Channel, which flowed at greater volume due to runoff rains.

The South Concho feeds the South Pool:

I'll venture the South Pool is up over eight feet and contributing to the North Pool's gains, which also come courtesy of the Middle Concho River.

The final total remains to be seen, but count me as highly thankful. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Area Stream & River Flow

Pecan Creek runoff filled Lake Nasworthy to the point two flood gates needed to be opened.  Both the North and South Concho River rose from recent rains.  The pictures are below:

The South Pool should be up as well.  I look forward to finding out how much.  Is is up enough for water to flow into the Equalization Channel without pumping?  That would be a blessing.

Update 5-25-14:  San Angelo Live said yes.

Will City Put Hold on North Pool Pumping?

San Angelo Live reported on Lake Nasworthy water releases as a result of locally heavy rains.  The city may wish to stop Twin Buttes North Pool pumping into Nasworthy given the water just goes downstream.  That said, North Pool pumps are at the greatest risk for flooding given their relatively low elevation.  It would be odd if the city had to keep the pumps running to keep them from being inundated.

 We'll see how this all plays out, but thank heaven for the rain.

Update 5-25-14:  The Standard Times reported "Sunday afternoon they were helping water utilities get the pumps out of the North Pool at Twin Buttes."

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Setup for Runoff?

Tom Green County may be primed for runoff should more rains like last night's occur.   Here's the impact of Friday evenings storms and area creeks and rivers:

The South Concho at Christoval rose slightly then reverted to its prior low level flow.  Let's hope this evening's storms produce more runoff for area lakes.  It looks promising:

But I'm still praying.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pumping's Measly Returns

The City of San Angelo utilized six pumps to move Twin Buttes water to Lake Nasworthy.  Three pumps take South Pool water into the Equalization Channel where it gravity flows into the North Pool.  A second set of three pumps sends North Pool water through the huge gates of the dam.

One third of the South Pool water is sent into Lake Nasworthy then released downstream.  Roughly another third is lost to seepage, thirsty vegetation and evaporation during travel.

A mere 19% of the pumped water is still in Lake Nasworthy.  This percentage came from the last two sets of lake water volume data published by San Angelo Live.  That means 15% is used for our daily water supply.

Let's hope the 19% remaining in Lake Nasworthy can be used later for the city's water needs and not have to be let downstream.

Without additional rains I expect the South Pool to be pumped out within three to four weeks. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

South Pool Down Over Three Feet

The South Pool at Twin Buttes is down nearly 3.5 feet as of Saturday afternoon.  Th elevation dropped from 1921.3 to less than 1918.  Three pumps are operating at the South Pool.  Last year the pump setup could move 75 acre feet a day  and that was a specification in this year's RFP for Twin Buttes pumping systems.

The system shall be capable of discharging approximately 75 acre-feet per day. 

A second set of three pumps is at the North Pool.  San Angelo Live shared the city's math on pumping:

The pumps at the South Pool are moving approximately 60 acre-feet of water per day and since Nasworthy loses some 25 acre-feet per day under normal conditions, the water from next door has to pay back the loss before it goes on to the credit side of the ledger.  According to data from the City’s water utility department, Lake Nasworthy has been gaining about 25 acre-feet of water per day since May 8th.
I would venture the South Pool pumps deliver 60 acre feet per day to the North Pool, losing 15 acre feet (of the 75) to seepage, thirsty vegetation and evaporation.   The North Pool takes that 60 and after evaporation/seepage Lake Nasworthy gets 50 acre feet, the 25 let downstream and 25 acre foot gain per day.

The North Pool is below the level the City pumped it to last Fall.  It seems they found a deeper channel for their three intake pipes.  The North Pool hasn't been suitable for windsurfing for quite some time.  The South Pool has maybe two weeks left where it is sailable.  With no rain Twin Buttes could soon be two small mud holes.  Pray for rain.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

South Pool Down Two Feet

The City of San Angelo pumped two feet of water from the South Pool in the last ten days.  The goal is ten feet, so they're one fifth of the way.  Data from prior pumping efforts showed a 22 to 29% loss from the trip down the Equalization Channel.  Still, one would expect some impact in the North Pool's elevation from pumping.  It hasn't shown up yet. 

If anyone knows the reason why, I welcome your comments. 

Saturday, May 3, 2014

City Pumps Over Half Foot from South Pool

In a few days the City of San Angelo removed nearly two-thirds of a foot of water from Twin Buttes South Pool.  The level dropped from 1921.25 elevation pre-pumping to 1920.60, a difference of .65 foot.

I paddleboarded the South Pool in light winds today.  The wind is predicted to increase tomorrow so I might be able to windsurf.  I need to sail while there's water.  It could be unsailable in a month's time.   

Thursday, May 1, 2014

City Fires Up South Pool Pumps

The roar of diesel engines returned to Twin Buttes South Pool for the third time in three years.  The City plans to pump the South Pool from 1921.25 feet to 1911 feet elevation. 

In 2012 the city estimated losses from this stage of the operation at 22 to 29%.

A second stage will be required to move water from the North Pool to Lake Nasworthy.  Two years ago the city moved 77 acre feet per day from the South Pool to have 25 acre feet gravity flow into Lake Nasworthy.  That's a 67% shortfall from a one stage pumping operation.

The city made no estimations in 2013 when it undertook a two stage pumping process, despite a direct request from City Council to do so.  It remains to be seen what happens in 2014.  Twin Buttes pumping is off and running this May Day.  Mayday sums up our local water situation.  Pray for rain, or as a good friend often says "Pray for brains."