A decision to pump Lake Meredith as low as it can go will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The last pump in place sits between 42 and 37 feet. Once the water gets below that, low level pumps will be needed to get the water out.
Those pumps were approved today at a Canadian River Municipal Water Authority board meeting.
Just two of the low water pumps cost about 375-thousand dollars. Today, board members voted to give CRMWA officials 400-thousand to start the process of buying and/or renting pumps.
Kent Satterwhite with CRMWA says, "The 400-thousand also includes renting a pump for a few months. Assuming we need it sooner, then purchase pumps can be provided."
Emmett Autrey with the City of Amarillo says, "The main thing...is it allows water to be pumped out of lake meredith even though the water is lower than the level in which we would begin having pumping problems. With these pumps, they overcome that difficulty for at least a limited amount of time. On the other side, as they continue to pump the lake, it continues to drop...it's a catch-22."
Autrey says until the potter county water wells can get up an running by 2011, we need all of our allocation from the lake.
Which is about 37 percent of the 80,000 acre feet allowed to be pumped this year... About three point six six billion gallons for Amarillo.
CRMWA officials say they are getting approval now, even though the lake is at 48 feet because they want to do things cautiously now that we've entered uncharted territory.
"We've never been to this level...we got down to the 60's in the 80's. We've never approached anything like this or had to consider it." Satterwhite says.
Cities will be picking up the tab based on their allocation percentages.