Wednesday, October 16, 2013

O. C. Fisher Beneficiary of Rains

NOAA's gauges indicated only one lake received substantial runoff from the area's recent rains, O. C. Fisher Lake.  This was due to a rapid rise in the North Concho River on Monday. 

Lake Ivie and the North Pool at Twin Buttes remained at levels prior to our area's rains.

The South Pool has no gauge, however the South Concho River showed no rise, unlike its Northern counterpart.

I tried to post a piece last night on O. C. Fisher's eight foot rise but Blogger wouldn't cooperate.  Waiting a day enabled an extra foot to enter the lake.  Might another lake be the beneficiary of future rains?  I'm praying for it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

South Pool to Benefit?

Former City Councilman Paul Alexander once stated "a medium rain would refill the South Pool overnight."  The City pumped it near dry this summer. 

Time will tell if Paul's theory applies to this world.  One failure of a theory requires its modification.  Let's hope he's right and this medium rain refills the South Pool. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

North Pool Tapped Out

I visited the North Pool at Twin Buttes to document the lake's current level.  The picture above was shot from Fin Buster's Beach.  When I moved to San Angelo in 1994 this was under water.  It's rocky knoll claimed numerous windsurfing fins, including one of mine

Yesterday, City pumps stood silent, incapable of pumping more water from their current placement.  They'd successfully removed the foot of water from recent runoff.

As I walked I noticed the usual broken glass and trash the City and Bureau of Reclamation seemingly care little about.  But what struck me more were the natural sights and sounds.  Fish jumped, some leaving whopper sized wakes, and the surface revealed a plethora of birds, ducks, herons, and egrets.  Shallow water made the North Pool a concentrated feeding ground for those in and out of the water.

I'd walked across the Middle Concho years ago, but had to walk upstream a ways to find land dry enough to do so.  Not yesterday. This view is from the top of the riverbank.

From inside:

I have many images of Twin Buttes stored in my mind.  This is the lowest I've seen.  I'm praying for heavy runoff rains.

Update 1-16-14:  The City finally issued a press release stating it pumped all the water it could from Twin Buttes.  That's three months after this post.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Twin Buttes Feeders

Four tributaries feed Twin Buttes Reservoir, Dove Creek, Spring Creek, as well as the South and Middle Concho Rivers.  The Middle Concho River is the least predictable provider of water.  Historically, the South Concho, Spring Creek and Dove Creek flowed year round.

With drought and oilfield water use Spring Creek no longer has perennial flow.  Several times this year Spring Creek had no flow.  The South Concho had reduced flow this year, but recent rains have it adding volume to Twin Buttes South Pool.

When all four tributaries are in flood huge volumes can flow into Twin Buttes.  Consider this event from August 1996:

Thunderstorms developed during the night of August 28th over the Concho Valley and became stationary over Irion and southern Tom Green counties through the morning of the 30th. Rainfall amounts of around 6 to 7 inches occurred to the south of San Angelo in Christoval and to the west of San Angelo in Mertzon.

The flooding quickly subsided on the evening of August 29th as the water rushed into Twin Buttes Reservoir in southwest San Angelo. The amount of water in the reservoir rose from near 22,000 acre feet to 60,280 acre feet as the height rose 18 feet. This water was a welcomed sight to residents of the Concho Valley, as the drought this year had left lakes and reservoirs very low.
Last fall Twin Buttes had a seven foot rise after flooding rains.  Seven feet of new water would isolate Gajeske's pumps at the North Pool.  Eighteen feet would inundate them and their diesel fuel tanks.

The pumps have been silent since they removed the foot of recent runoff.  I'm headed out to the North Pool to see if they're still there.  I went to the South Pool yesterday and the South Concho's flow has it looking more like a lake.

What might both pools look like after a potentially heavy rainfall event, predicted Sunday through Tuesday?

Update 10-13-13:  Eastern Tom Green County is currently under a Flash Flood Warning due to a stationary thunderstorm like August 1996, only much more rain is anticipated.  This should help Lake Ivie.   I went to Twin Buttes North Pool yesterday and the pumps were high and dry, as was the Middle Concho River (pictures to come).

Update 2-10-14:  San Angelo Live did a story on the Concho Valley's various watersheds.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Special Weather Statement for 10-12 to 10-15

West Central Texas Lakes at Twin Buttes Reservoir

The National Weather Service in San Angelo issued the following weather statement:


Is the City prepared to move Gajeske's pumps?  A runoff event like September 2012 would put them underwater.   Pray for a big rain, huge runoff and a prepared City Water Department. 

Update 10-12-13:  The event shifted slightly with heavier rains expected Sunday through Wednesday.  A four day rain event could be an incredible blessing for our parched lakes.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Perry to Ride into Thirsty San Angelo

Fresh from his stint on CNBC selling Texas' low tax status, Governor Rick Perry will speak today on the topic of water in San Angelo.  The Standard Times reported Perry will speak from an undisclosed location at an unknown time on West Texas' need for water.  Perry wants to divert $2 billion from the Rainy Day fund to create a water infrastructure bank.

West Texas has oilfield companies poking holes in the ground for water.  Their trucks eat up highways, already behind on maintenance from both a municipal and state perspective.

Our region's water landscape is dire, between population growth and oil/gas drilling. Dove Creek rose to five feet in rains two weeks ago.  Spring Creek didn't rise at all.

An oilfield company plans to take water from the ground right where Lopez Draw intermittently flows.  Did any Lopez Draw water actually make it to Spring Creek during recent rains?  Is Governor Perry paying any attention to this?  He sure seemed to enjoy his time in New Jersey. 

As for Perry's undisclosed location and time for his meeting, it's clear the public is not invited.  We're to foot the bill for his heady life, meeting with news anchors, athletes and titans of industry.

Update:  The Standard Times reported  "Gov. Rick Perry visited San Angelo today and encouraged Texans to vote for Proposition 6 on Nov. 5.  “I understand the anxiety that occurs when you endlessly scan the sky for rain,” Perry said during a noon news conference Wednesday at San Angelo State Park, with dried O.C. Fisher behind him.  Perry was joined by about 50 people, including county and city officials, local businesspeople and representatives from the Upper Colorado River Authority.  Proposition 6 will amend the state constitution to transfer $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund to finance water projects for local entities, such as pipelines, desalination plants and mesquite removal.  “It’s vital for local communities to have their say,” Perry said, urging San Angeloans and all West Texans to vote on the critical issue."