Residents look forward to water release from Ute Lake

Residents look forward to water release from Ute Lake
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

LOGAN, NM - The roads to Ute Lake were busy today as many residents tried to catch a glimpse of the release of water into the Canadian River.

While they did not open the gates of the dam today, many residents say it's a sight they don't want to miss.

Ute Lake resident Frances Miller said the lake is a staple for surrounding communities in New Mexico.

"I know on the holiday weekends, the three day weekends, you can't get a space in the parks," said Miller.  "It's full, all of them."

Sandra Milakovich also said the lake is important to the community.

"It drives in a lot of income in our small town here," said Milakovich. "The higher it is, the better it is for all the boats, and recreation and tourists that draw all the people down here."

Rain continued to pour into the lake today. Ute Lake resident Richard Smith said the downpour is a common theme lately.

"It's pretty amazing because we usually don't get this much," said Smith. "The rainfall is only about half of what we got in the last month probably."

Ute can hold up to 200,000 acre-feet of water before the Canadian River Compact requires New Mexico officials to release water to Texas.

For some local residents, the release of water from the reservoir has been a highly anticipated wait.

"Oh everyone knows it around our small town," said Milakovich. "We've been watching the levels and how high it is until it goes over the spillway, and once it does, it's big news around here because we haven't had that water up that high in I don't know how long."

The release would make Ute's lake level go down. However, residents we spoke with today aren't concerned about the release.

"Well as long as they don't do too much, too fast," said Smith.

"No, not if they don't let too much out," said Miller.

Roger Cox is the Texas representative on the board that oversees the Canadian River Compact agreement.

He tells NewsChannel10 that he's expecting written correspondence from New Mexico soon, telling him the water is available.

He would then consult with engineering support in Austin and officials at the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority before taking action.

After that, Cox said he would make a call for any excess water to be released unless there is a need to hold the water temporarily.

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