By CLINT FOSTER
Tuesday’s meeting of Mineral Wells City Council was more lively than most; while council members heard a presentation about a new reservoir in Palo Pinto County and city officials presented a new animal control ordinance to council, many citizens showed up for a public hearing concerning a road closure.
Ken Choffel of HDR Engineering was on hand to give a presentation concerning the status of the Lake Palo Pinto Storage Restoration Project and building of the new Turkey Peak Reservoir, located on the east side of and downstream from Lake Palo Pinto.
In the words of City Manager Lance Howerton, the Turkey Peak project will “ensure adequate raw water supplies for our community and county going forward for 50 to 75 years.”
Choffel, the project engineer, provided a detail explanation and slideshow about the project. He explained that Lake Palo Pinto, built in 1964, currently releases water out of the dam, which then runs about 14 miles down Palo Pinto Creek to Brazos. The water is picked up by a channel pump and taken to a pump station. From there, the water travels up a 4-mile pipeline to a hilltop reservoir and water-treatment plant.
This system has worked well for years, but Choffel explained the capacity of Lake Palo Pinto is limited and gradually trending down and the county needs more water resources as populations in Palo Pinto and Parker counties continue to grow.
Enter Turkey Peak; the new reservoir, which will be connected to Lake Palo Pinto by a spillway and boat pass, will offer more water for the area with an emphasis on efficiency. Turkey Peak will hold about 22,577 acre-feet of water – compared to Lake Palo Pinto’s 27,215 acre-feet – but store it in a much smaller area, as the planned surface area for Turkey Peak is just 648 acres compared to Palo Pinto’s 2,176 acres. It will have an average depth of 35 feet, compared to Palo Pinto’s 12-foot depth. This deeper design will also eliminate many problems associated with evaporation during droughts and sedimentation.