Athens Review, Athens, Texas

August 1, 2013

Dry times continue for HC

Lakes low during hot, rainless weather predicted for next week

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The levels of area lakes remain below capacity with hot, dry weather predicted for the next week.

Texas Water Development Board reports show the major bodies of water in the Henderson County area were below capacity on Thursday, although Lake Palestine was within a foot of it’s optimum 345 feet.

On Thursday, Lake Athens was at 81.1-percent capacity, down from 86.2 percent in May.  The level was 436.70 above sea level, 3.30 feet below capacity.

Cedar Creek Reservoir was 76.1 percent on Thursday, 5.09 feet below capacity. On this date in 2012, the lake was 1.79 feet below capacity.

Lake Palestine was in better shape, with the level of 344.15, only .85 inches below capacity. The lake was 95-percent full.

Richland Chambers Reservoir was 7.99 inches below capacity on Thursday and was 70.8-percent full. Richland Chambers is the third-largest lake totally within the boundaries of Texas. Cedar Creek Lake ranks fourth.

On July 8,  the lack of rain resulted in the City of Athens initiating Stage 1 water restrictions, requesting customers to voluntarily conserve water and adhere to certain water restrictions.

The plan states that  Stage 1 be implemented when the daily production of water exceeds 4.5 million gallons per day, or the water surface elevation of Lake Athens drops to 436.90 feet. Rains during the first few days after the restrictions were put in place temporarily brought the reading above the minimum.

Stage 1 of the Plan can be rescinded when all criteria for activating the ban have ceased to exist for a period of seven consecutive days.

The lack of water is dimming the prospects of opening the Splash Pad at Kiwanis Park before the start of school. If drought conditions restrict the use of water, the Pad could remain inactive until significant rains come.

Statewide, evaporation this summer could lead to the largest gap ever between the amount of water in lakes and their total capacity. The Texas Water Development Board reports that monitored reservoirs in the state were 63.5-percent full on Thursday. One year ago, the lakes averaged 73-percent full.