Lake Texoma Group Demands Change In Hydropower Law - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Lake Texoma Group Demands Change In Hydropower Law

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- In the midst of a three-year drought, a group representing leaders at Lake Texoma demands changes in the law governing hydropower generation, as the Army Corps predicts a growing crisis in the weeks ahead.

It was full this summer at 617 feet, but now Lake Texoma has dropped to dangerously low levels.

"We saw a steady pattern and realized you know a month or two into it that it appeared that the power generation is on a consistent basis and that the lake was going to be coming down," says Lake Texoma Association executive committee member Jason Cottingame, who runs three marinas on the lake.

Now the Lake Texoma Association is demanding a change in the 1987 law governing hydropower generation.

Currently, hydropower restrictions and a public information program would start at 612 feet, and restriction to critical levels at 607 feet.

Under the new request to lawmakers, they want restrictions in the North Texas Municipal Water District and hydropower only for rapid response and brown-outs at 615 feet, and emergency hydropower for blackouts at 609 feet -- which is also the current lake level.

"I've worked out here 13 years and I've never seen it this low," says marina employee Marty Withers.

The Association wants all water removal cut off at 600 feet. They say the 27-year-old law is outdated, but the Army Corps says 2013 generation was the lowest since 1945, and that the entities that have water contracts with them have a right to their water.

"They have congressional approval for a certain amount of water in the lake, to use that for electrical needs," says Army Corps chief lake park ranger Billy Williams.

The low water is exposing plenty of beach along the shoreline and it's also bringing new hazards for boaters.

"Just stumps and new points that sit out there and a lot of shallow spots," says Withers.

"Folks are going to need to be extremely cautious," says Williams.

The Army Corps says drought Level 3 will start with further hydropower restrictions if the lake drops two more feet.

Meantime, Grandpappy Point Marina plans to start doing some digging. "The areas that we can get to are the areas that we can dredge and that's being banks that aren't steep," says Cottingame. "We can pull some things from the lake and clean up and then pull some silt and sand out of areas that would improve water depth."

The Wylie-based NTMWD plans to start pumping lake water through a new pipeline to the Plano and Allen area in May, and tell us they hope for spring rain before then.