Water pumps at Lake Texoma turning back on this month - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Water pumps at Lake Texoma turning back on this month

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LAKE TEXOMA -- For the first time in five years, water from Lake Texoma will flow to the Dallas area this month.

Thursday,
the North Texas Municipal Water District will begin turning pumps back on.

Lynn DeBock is a fishing guide and says low water levels at Lake Texoma have taken a bite out of business.

"It's slowed it down quite a bit," DeBock said.

With elevations increasing in recent weeks, he says customers are starting to come back, too.

"I just didn't have customers today so I went fun-fishing," he said.

BJ Parkey, assistant lake manager with the Army Corp of Engineers, says water levels are now at 608.83 feet.

"Since about March 8, we've came up about 8/10 of a foot," he said.

Despite the upswing, he says the lake is still about 7 feet below normal for this time of year.

In a matter of hours, a new tap at the reservoir will be turned on.

"I hate to hear that," DeBock said. "Nobody needs to be taking anymore water out of this lake."

Beginning Thursday, pumps run by the North Texas Municipal Water District will go back online.

The pumping stopped in 2009 to keep zebra mussels from spreading.

Since then, the water district has extended its pipeline 48 miles to a water treatment facility in Wylie, Texas.

"It is just the nature of drought that we have to adapt," NTMWD spokesperson Denise Hickey said.

The extension cost $300 million to build.

"It was the cost of losing our supply," Hickey said.

To get rid of zebra mussels, boaters are now required by law to clean, drain and dry boats when leaving the lake.

The new pipeline and water treatment system are designed to stop the spread, too.

The district says water taken from Lake Texoma will be treated, then flow to 60 communities in the Dallas area.

While zebra mussels are still a concern, for DeBock, as pumps come back online the bigger question is how much lake levels will drop.

The water district says the impact will be small.

Hickey says if it were to run the pumps non-stop, at full capacity, through the end of the year it would lower the lake by a little less than a foot.

One smaller pump will be turned on Thursday. More will come online during the next couple weeks.

Service to homes is scheduled to begin at the end of the month.