Frustrations and Rumors Bubble to the Surface as Lake Texoma Waters Retreat

Drought

the Italian voice / Flickr

Lake Texoma’s level was about 609 feet last week, down from 612 feet two months ago. The lake can only be used for hydropower until levels drop to 590 feet.

And it’s the use of the water for power generation that has sparked animosity among the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, north Texas communities, and those who depend on the lake for their livelihoods and recreation.

There were accusations online that the Corps was intentionally draining Texoma for the benefit of Dallas and other north Texas cities, without considering how the lake itself would be impacted.

The rumors spilled over to the Save Lake Texoma Facebook page.

Commenter Dillion Marshall:

This is unbelievable that someone can just take all the water from the lake for some stupid experiment in Dallas this lake is a childhood memory for lots of ppl.around here. Sure do hope something gets done about it.

Commenter Ronald McBee was worried, too:

While Texoma goes DRY Dallas lake Lewisville and Lake ray hubbard are full!! ???

The Ada News Special Correspondent Randy Mitchell reports the rumors became so rampant that the Corps of Engineers dispatched a spokesperson to tamp them down.

Facebook rumors accused the governmental entity of being responsible for the lake’s low water levels in its attempt to supply energy to Dallas, Texas. Brande Serner, administrative officer, said lake water levels are drastically reduced due to a three-year drought in the area.

“That is a false rumor and it is rampant right now,” Serner said. “It is all over the Internet. We are currently in year three of an exceptional to severe drought.”

Serner acknowledges power generation can lower water levels, but balks at the idea that increased power generation is to blame for the current situation. In fact, she says the Oklahoma-City based Southwestern Power Administration has made big strides in reducing its reliance on hydropower.

“We do generate electricity here,” Serner said. “In fact, 2013 was the lowest year for generation since hydropower began in 1945. (SWPA) is aware of the detriment to the low lake levels and they have made some drastic reductions in their demands for power.”


StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Comments

  • Stephen Willis

    This raises the question about the possible role for wind power to replace the two turbine generators at the Denison Dam. Have the Corps of Engineers, Southwest Power Administration and the north Texas utilities considered siting a new wind farm near Lake Texoma which would enable them to retire Denison Dam hydro-power and save the immense volumes of water lost during extended droughts? http://defend-lake-texoma-state-park.org/2014/01/23/is-climate-change-the-elephant-in-the-room/

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education