The current flow of water in Amarillo

Aug 7, 2014

The water level at Lake Meredith near Borger, Texas, had dropped below the lake's intake rendering it useless as a water source for cities. Photo taken on Tuesday, Sept., 28, 2012.
The water level at Lake Meredith near Borger, Texas, had dropped below the lake's intake rendering it useless as a water source for cities. Photo taken on Tuesday, Sept., 28, 2012.
Credit Robert W Hart / texastribune.org

Water is being pumped from Lake Meredith to supplement water wells in Amarillo.  The Canadian River Municipal Water Authority reported recent rains have raised the water level at Lake Meredith from last year’s record low of 26 feet a current level of 43.5 feet according to a recent article from the Amarillo Globe-News.

The lake water began to reach CRMWA member cities this week.

Tim Loan is the Assistant Utilities Director for CRMWA.  He says it takes time for the water to arrive in the city.

“We estimate it will take about a week to go through our reservoir, get treated and get into our system,” says Loan.

Councilwoman Ellen Robertson Green says she has been taking “taste tests” every day since she heard the notoriously salty water was coming. Its taste will be diluted by CRMWA well water and city well water.

“I was so excited I couldn’t taste it,” she says.

Loan reminded council members the drought is not over.

“The truth is, we’re still in a pretty serious drought,” says Loan, “To end that, we need anywhere from 12 to 15 inches of moisture in the next six months.”

The chances for that?

“Anywhere from 0 percent to about 9 percent,” he says.

To make things significantly better, the region needs 9 to 12 inches and has a 20 to 30 percent chance of getting that.

Amarillo City Council members also gave preliminary approval of landscape ordinance amendments prompted by the drought.  Changes include requiring the businesses affected to satisfy a point system that gives credit for things like using recommended, water-thrifty plants and drip irrigation, especially on strips of landscaping less than 4 feet across.