Water Conservation in the Panhandle

Kent Satterwhite, CRMWA
Kent Satterwhite, CRMWA

We've heard "Every Drop Counts"... And with Lake Meredith's levels dropping everyday... People in our area are beginning to call for mandatory water conservation.

Tuesday the lake hit it's lowest level ever... 49.09 inches. But officials say a region wide mandatory conservation is not the answer.

Kent Satterwhite with CRMWA say, "Most of the small cities don't use all of their allocation. So for us to say, across the board drought contingency plans which automatically makes them have to go into drought contingency mode also doesn't make much sense."

Instead they are lowering how much water can be pumped from the lake.

In 2007, CRMWA authorities allocated 35 thousand acre feet of water, but this year just 30 thousand was allocated to cities in the panhandle.

"Now that the allocations are reduced some, significantly, they still have there percentage of that allocation, but it's enough for them."

Each city gets a percentage of the allocation... As an example Amarillo gets 37.8 percent or 13 thousand acre feet from this years 30-thousand.. That is 3.66 billion gallons of water for the year.

It may seem like a lot, but city officials say a peak summer day has residents using about 85 million gallons of water.

CRMWA officials say they hope in the next few years they can keep the water in the lake and use extra sources.

"Our ground water project well fare will expanded in late 2009. By 2010, our worst case is from then on to take 11 thousand from the lake, and we think it will sustain itself."

Satterwhite says the lake is nearly half what it should be... And by the end of the year... Their worst case scenario puts the lake at between 36 and 45 feet.

You can make your voice heard on the issue at a public meeting April 9th in Plainview. For more information log on to www.crmwa.com

Here is a look at how much water the lake has lost. You can see a picnic table, that was once uder water, emerge as the water level drops.