|Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
Dallas weather keeping lake level up, local rain still AWOL
BY VALERIE REDDELL
LIVINGSTON — Despite the fact that the Polk County area virtually did without any spring rains, the lake level remains high and the City of Livingston has not had to implement any of its drought contingency plan, according to Livingston City Manager Marilyn Sutton and Mark Waters, the assistant manager of the Lake Livingston project for the Trinity River Authority. The Lake Livingston basin has received less than a quarter of the expected rainfall so far this year, Waters said. During the month of May, the 12 rain gauges operated by TRA received 1.6 inches, bringing the year-to-date rainfall up to 8.51 inches. “We expect 19.36 inches a year through May,” Waters said. “We’re starting June with 4.79 inches and should be at 20.15 at the end of June, but we haven’t had enough rain this year to get there.” The lake level has remained at or above normal levels because of the rainfall in Dallas and other upstream areas. “Right now we’re at 131.84 feet — six inches high,” Waters said. “Generally if we’re in this area after Memorial Day, we have a pretty good summer. Sometimes we’re four or five inches low by Memorial Day.” The lack of local rainfall is prompting City of Livingston water customers to use an average of 1.4 million gallons of water a day for the month of May, according to Sutton. The recently amended drought contingency plan calls for voluntary water conservation when water use hits 1.8 million gallons per day for eight consecutive days. At that point, city officials will ask customers to restrict landscape watering and outdoor uses to twice a week on days determined by their street address. Another factor that will affect outdoor water use is when construction crews connect new, larger distribution water lines to the water plant. One of the lines on Kate Lowe Road that could be connected without interrupting flow into the city has been completed, Sutton said Friday. “They filled that line and checked it for leaks,” Sutton said. “When they make the other two connections at the plant, they won’t be able to pump water to us,” she added. At that time, the city will issue alerts via its Code RED automated telephone system, asking customers to be as conservative as possible with water use. The distribution lines and elevated storage tanks will hold an ample supply of water for a normal 24 hour period, but cannot meet the demand if there is a large amount of landscape watering under way.