State of the Lake Address - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

State of the Lake Address

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LAKE TEXOMA -- Captain Stan Constant has grown up on Lake Texoma.  

"I was kind of a lake rat when I was a little kid so I've seen it at its highs and its lows and the in betweens," says Constant who operates a Lake Texoma Guide Service.

The story of Lake Texoma begins in 1938 when construction began to initiate flood control and generate hydroelectric power.  

"At the time the lake was built, Congress authorized two primary purposes at the time. One was for hydro-power and the other was for water supply. The other authorized purposes were added at later times for recreation and things like that," explains Joe Custer, the Lake Texoma Manager for the Corp of Engineers.

Like many other bodies of water, Lake Texoma has experienced both times of flood and of drought.  

"I've been here long enough to know you have ups and downs, you have floods, you have tornadoes, you have droughts, and in the end basically if that is what God wants, that's fine. That's what is going to happen so I don't worry about nothing," says Kevin Beam who manages Little Glasses Resort.

"We are looking at it from the positive side. We are doing so much cleaning up around the resort. Its unbelievable. Whatever is happening with the lake water its going to happen," says Ed Mathews, who manages Bridgeview Marina and Resort.

The North Texas Municipal Water District in Wylie, Texas is one of the primary users of drinking water from the lake, but right now, they aren't even using water from Lake Texoma.

"We have not been able to access that supply since 2009 so we have not been utilizing that supply from Texoma due to the infestation of the zebra mussels," says Denise Hickey, the Public Relations Coordinator from the North Texas Municipal Water District.

Water district managers claim even when they have access to Lake Texoma again, it will be used as a last resort.  

"Due to the water quality of Lake Texoma, its high in salinity, you have to blend it with other natural sources of water so that supply for the district is the first supply to go off-line and its the last supply to come online," says Hickey.

The district plans to start using water again from Lake Texoma this May. A direct route from the lake to the water treatment plant was created so that zebra mussels could be removed before the water goes anywhere else.

Even without one of the biggest users of drinking water tapping into the resource, water levels in the lake are still low.

"There is a lot of misconception and lack of knowledge on people's part right now about why we truly are in this situation," says Custer.

The Corps of Engineers says the lake loses water for 3 reasons right now.

"Hydro-power is continuing to generate right now within the constraints they have on them. The water supply users are still pulling water out so there are the two current users are hydro-power and water supply. Also the water we lose to evaporation which this time of year is relatively low," says Custer.

But the primary reason the lake is low right now is drought. And rain over Texoma is only a drop in the bucket of what's needed.  

The biggest help could come from rainfall to our west, into the rivers that feed water back into Lake Texoma.  

While the lake is vital to millions of people for drinking and production of electricity it is just as just important to millions of others who use the lake each year for boating fishing and swimming.

But experts say low lake levels will only get lower without rainfall.

Many are just hoping for plenty of spring rain.

"I believe we are good and hopefully God will bring some more rain," says Beam.

Despite low levels the lake is still open.

"Come to the lake for either boating or fishing or recreational purposes or whatever purpose, we are still in good shape," says Constant.