Thursday, June 27, 2013

South Pool Nearly Drained

I ventured to the South Pool at Twin Buttes Reservoir to see lake levels after nearly 3 1/2 months of pumping.  It's a sad sight for those familiar with this body of water.  Small waves lapped the base of the rock seen above prior to pumping.  I would venture lake levels are six to eight feet below their March 1 level.  For two weeks in 2013 water naturally trickled through the Equalization Channel.  The view below is taken from the channel bed.

Twin Buttes' automated measurement system died in conjunction with pumping.  The Bureau of Reclamation looked at the North Pool gauge.  As the reservoir elevation got too low to read, they decided not to add anything for automated measurement.  A Bureau representative noted:

The City reads the pools manually, roughly once per month. The Bureau receives the readings monthly and expects to receive the June information shortly. This is not really tracked, just filed.
Water Surface Elevation (May report):
Middle Concho-1887.24
South Concho -1923.55
The City began pumping the South Pool on March 15 with water elevation near 1925 feet and the North Pool at 1888.87.  The reading above shows the City pumped nearly 1.5 feet from the South Pool to have the North Pool decline by 1.6 feet.  Nothing rose, as repeatedly promised by city officials.

I'll post the new readings once they arrive.  I suggest no one hold their breath until the North Pool achieves its promised five foot rise.  Meanwhile, the South Pool is great for cows and their byproducts. 


  1. Mike from AustinJune 27, 2013 at 9:30 PM

    Shortly after you contacted the bureau to inquire of the inoperable gauge, USGS obviously installed a lower reading gauge on the North Pool. Now the bureau's website is likely still hooked up to the old, powered down gauge. It's amazing the bureau doesn't know they have a new gauge there. Here is the data you need in the USGS link at the bottom of this post. First, erase the flatline at 1888. Then, take the May measurement you got, 1888.24, and plot that at about May 10 or 11. Then connect the dots. I appreciate what you do and like your blog. I'm pretty sure it was your contact with them that actually got them to install a new gauge so quickly! Here in the Austin/hill country area it's lakes Travis and Buchanan that will be approaching the Jan 2012 Fifty year low next week. Visit and you'll see that we are both in the same basin (Colorado) Praying for rain for you! ...Mike

  2. Oh, sorry, i was off a bit on drawing the graph. On the graph, to get the best estimate, draw a line back from the day the new gauge started to the point ~May 10th at 1888.24. Then, if you continue back and down you will estimate the level the day the pumping started. My estimate came out to roughly 1886.5. Then, connect from there back to when the gauge bottomed out at 1888 back around April 1st. Remember, 1886.0 is the realistic dead pool level, not 1885, so it appears there was only 6 inches to spare! I guess they did get some rise, but now it looks like they are feeding it quickly to Nasworthy and the atmosphere from the recent drop back to 1888 today!