Playa lakes in Amarillo remain full despite months of pumping

Playa lakes in Amarillo remain full despite months of pumping

Amarillo, TX - Amarillo's city engineer, Mark Read says the battle to get the city's playa lakes to a normal level is impossible right now.

"It's all frustrating. We wish we could just snap our fingers and take care of it today," said Read.

On going rain and little evaporation because of cooler temperatures are to blame, setting back the pumping process at Lake McDonald, The McCarty Lake, and the Greenways to square one.

"They keep going up and down. We'll get it pumped down a little bit and then we'll get a rain storm and it will be back up, and we are not being able to pump it down quite as quickly," said Read.

Another situation the city has to deal with is how much the flooding is costing. So far, the city rented out two pumps for two months that are currently at the Greenways Lake. Along with the rented pumps comes piping. The bill for all that equipment is estimated at over $100,000.

"There's a lot of things that actually are going to add up quite a bit. There's a lot of over time hours for the people who are manning the pumps, refueling them, and checking them in the middle of storms," said Read.

Read adds that the city uses several hundreds of gallons of fuel a day for the pumps that also adds to the cost.

Since the added moisture was so unexpected, the city is looking into being prepared next time by buying another pump. Currently the city has 6 permanent pumps at all of the city's playa lakes.

"There have been discussions about possibly purchasing another portable pump and pipe just for instances like this. But this weather event is very unusual and we have to consider if it's really worth a bunch of money," said Read.

With predictions of a wet winter, Read says it will be a very long time before these playa lakes are at normal levels.