Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

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May 21, 2014

A BALANCING ACT

As area lakes suffer from ongoing drought, Lake Granbury-area residents want increased draw-downs at PK Lake

By TODD GLASSCOCK

POSSUM KINGDOM – Tuesday morning, about 25 yards out from a Possum Kingdom Lake boat ramp, was a handful of geese, three adults and a gosling, a stiff warm breeze ruffling their feathers.

The sight might have made for a National-Geographic moment, except the geese weren’t swimming: they were straddling what’s now the shoreline on this particular part of the lake off Breding Road. Not far from the geese was a pier that dropped off into hard-packed red sand and weeds instead of water.

The scene painted a sure sign of the drought that has taken its toll on Texas lakes.

In 2011, the Brazos River Authority, which manages water resources for the Brazos River basin, decided to implement a new draw down ratio between Possum Kingdom and Lake Granbury from 1-to-1 to 1.75-to-1, as long as Possum Kingdom’s surface elevation was 992 feet or more, said Matt Phillips, government and customer relations manager at the BRA.

“For almost two years we’ve been doing the 1-to-1,” he said, because the drought has kept Possum Kingdom’s surface levels well below 992 feet. Current surface levels at the lake are 984.72 feet, about 15 feet below normal.

But, a coalition of concerned citizens in Granbury, banding together as Save Lake Granbury, wish to see the BRA increase the draw down ratio to almost three times more than its current level.

“For the past five years, several decisions have been made that have completely changed the landscape surrounding Lake Granbury,” the coalition’s Facebook page says. “Those decisions have helped the lake levels to start reaching historic lows in two of the past three summers. For those of you who frequent Lake Granbury, you saw boating, fishing and all recreation come to a complete standstill.”

On its Facebook page the group says the BRA’s closure of a hydroelectric plant in Possum Kingdom five years ago caused the water flow to Lake Granbury to decrease. Without a draw down increase, the group claims, it will continue to see dramatic declines in the lake’s value to its residents.

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