FRITCH, TX (KFDA) - For the first time in years, Ute Lake will be emptying some of its water into the Canadian River, with hopes it will spill into Lake Meredith.
Ute Lake surpassed it's maximum allowed storage of 200,000 acre feet on Thursday and is contractually obligated to release some of that water.
The dam is expected to be opened and release some of that water as early as Friday morning, making a big impact on Lake Meredith's water levels and usage going forward if that water can make the 130 river mile trip from lake to lake.
"Well from where they are today it's about 1600 acre feet," said Kent Satterwhite, General Manager of the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority. "An acre foot of water covers a football field one foot deep, so it's quite a bit of water."
All the rain the panhandle has received over the past two weeks is expected to help the water from Ute lake get to Lake Meredith faster than if the terrain was dry. It could be just a few days before the lake levels begin to rise.
"Since the water coming down the river channel will encounter saturated ground and soils, not as much of it will soak into the ground," said NewsChannel 10's Chief Meteorologist "Doppler" Dave Oliver. "So we'll get much more of a benefit from new water coming down the river channel. Because it's already saturated to begin with, more of the water will actually make it to the lake."
Rising lake levels are good for recreation, but even more important for the cities who use Lake Meredith as a water source, because the higher the lake, the less ground water we have to use.
"That's a big deal too because we feel like the groundwater's a nonrenewable resource, it is basically," said Satterwhite. "When we use that water we're mining it and it doesn't come back in any reasonable amount of time, so we try to conserve it as much as we can and this helps that, too."
Satterwhite said Lake Meredith could rise a foot or more.