By Chris Agee | firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Mineral Wells, which relies on Lake Palo Pinto for its water supply, still enjoys a relatively good water level, according to City Manager Lance Howerton.
As of Thursday, he said, the lake is three feet below its peak level of 867 feet.
Though diminished, that level remains three feet higher than the threshold of 861 feet, which would trigger a voluntary restriction of water usage.
“For this time of year and given the weather conditions, we feel we’re in excellent shape,” Howerton said.
Currently, the city has not called for residents to restrict water usage, though officials continue to keep a close watch on water levels, he said.
“Based on what we’re seeing at the lake presently ... possibly we could be in stage one of our drought contingency plan in September or October,” he said, clarifying that, even in that case, water restriction would be voluntary.
Despite the city’s situation, Howerton said the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is taking a more hands-on approach to monitoring water availability than in years past and could possibly issue a widespread suspension of water rights.
“They have taken this step already in the Brazos River Basin,” he said. “I’m not familiar with them doing that in the past.”
At this point, there are no mandates for municipalities to ration water usage, though “the possibility exists that TCEQ could compel certain levels of drought contingency actions to be taken throughout the state,” Howerton said.
Current studies show the region’s rainfall is more than 11 inches below average, which has contributed to a drastic decrease in ground water levels.
If rainfall does not replenish depleted aquifers, experts say even communities not using well water will feel the effects.
According to Dr. Bob Patterson, general manager of Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District, reduced ground water levels already affect communities relying on well water.
When levels reach a certain low point, though, he said water supply will suffer no matter the source.
“In the last quarter, we have seen as much as a 20-foot drop in the water levels in the aquifers,” Patterson said, adding that reduction is four times higher than in a typical summer.
The problem has been exacerbated during an unusually hot and dry summer, he said, but the current situation was set in motion several months ago.
“Most of the time [aquifers recharge] during the fall and winter time,” Patterson explained. “This year, we had no recharge.”
In the end, he said, all water sources can be traced back to aquifers, which means both supply and quality will likely suffer without an influx of rain.
“To be sure, the lakes and aquifers are all hydraulically connected,” Patterson said, “and with adequate flows, it fills them up.”
He said levels naturally even out through typical season changes but, in years such as this, a domino effect can lead to critical conditions.
“When you do not have a good recharge, of course it affects the aquifer directly,” Patterson said, “but it very definitely affects lake and river water.”
In certain cases, such as in one area between Weatherford and Granbury, natrual gas can enter the water supply in addition to mineral such as sulphur and iron because, Patterson explained, “water moves to lower pressure areas just like gas does.”
Many factors contribute to the level of ground water, according to District Conservationist Myron Merz of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, though an extended drought and hot summer have combined to create a major drop in the amount of water available to residents in the county.
“We’re kind of limited anyway in Palo Pinto County,” Merz said, adding the county has a minimal number of minor aquifers available to provide a constant water source.
In a normal year, factors such as oil and gas exploration and natural resources used by the region’s high levels of brush can drain water levels, though Merz said this year the situation is worse.
He said his agency focuses on water levels as they affect livestock, adding many reserve tanks have dried up in the area because of the limited water supply.
Another side effect of reduced ground water levels is decreased water purity, Merz said.
“Any time the water level goes down like that, all the minerals are more concentrated,” he noted.
Despite lack of rain Lake Palo Pinto still 3 feet above first conservation stage.
By Chris Agee | email@example.com
- News Toppers
Alamo siege ended on this day in 1836
The Battle of the Alamo was a 13-day siege beginning on Feb. 23, and ending on this day in 1836, marking one of the biggest events in the fight for Texas independence.Continued ...
Primaries decide some races, set stage for others
The dust from Tuesday's primary elections has settled and it was the incumbents who ruled the day in Palo Pinto County.Continued ...
Leadership & Shovel Handles
Roach and Moran joined LMW-19 “classmate” and CAC board member Dr. Gail Haterius primarily to paint a waiting-room wall with chalkboard paint, but the men were willing recruits to dig in the warm outdoors much of the day.Continued ...
Lee gets 99 years for ‘super aggravated sexual assault’
PALO PINTO – For the second time in as many months, a Mineral Wells man was sentenced to life in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a child.Continued ...
- Alamo siege ended on this day in 1836
- Local News
City Council passes ‘hotdog’ ordinance
Nobody likes being left inside a car during extreme temperatures, hot or cold – animals don't like it either.
CASA seeks 100 more child advocates
Casa means home, but for thousands of abused and neglected children, it's an acronym that has even more meaning – it's the hope of finally finding a safe, permanent home where they can thrive.
Paulsen honored for 25 years of volunteer work with DI
Recently the 2014 Greater Fort Worth Destination Imagination Tournament took place at Legacy High School in Mansfield, and 26 of the 256 teams that competed in the event are State competition bound.
Santo ISD student dies in house fire
ERATH COUNTY – A young student of Santo Junior High School is dead and his parents hospitalized after their rural home was consumed by a fire in the wee hours of Monday morning.
- City Council passes ‘hotdog’ ordinance
- Local Sports
Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
The All-District 17-1A-II teams for both boys and girls basketball have been announced and rivals Gordon and Strawn have left an indelible mark on the 2013-24 edition with the two schools combining for six players on the boys team and a whopping 11 girls receiving honors.
Lady Rams Softball begins MW Tourney
Hot off of a 5-1 showing at the Wichita Falls Tournament, the Mineral Wells Lady Rams softball team (11-3) will open tournament play against quality competition again today from the comfort of their own home.
Four Ladycats garner top 11-1A-I awards
Palo Pinto County's most successful basketball team of the 2013-14 season can now add a bushel of accolades to an already memorable, Regional Championship year.
MW boys place third, girls seventh at Ram Relays
The Mineral Wells boys and girls track teams were on full display, Saturday, in front of a hometown crowd at the Ram Relays as the varsity girls team took seventh place with 42 point and the varsity boys finished third with 90 points.
- Gordon, Strawn fill up all-district hoops teams
Garner Students Excel @ SMU Visioneering
On Feb. 22, 2014, a team of Garner 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students participated in the 14th annual Visioneering Event held at SMU. At the event they used their knowledge of science and engineering to explore a real world problem.
Project Graduation 2014 ‘Donkey Basketball’ a success
Mineral Wells High School Class of 2014 Project Graduation, along with seniors and faculty members, participated in a game of Buckeye Donkey Ball last Monday evening, February 10 at 7:00 p.m. in the MWHS Gym.
- Travis Elementary Honor Roll – 3rd Six Weeks
Houston Elementary Good Citizens
Houston Elementary teachers recognize a student each six weeks that exhibits the six pillars of character by displaying honesty, respect, caring, trustworthiness, fairness and responsibility.
- Garner Students Excel @ SMU Visioneering
- Online Only
BBQ My Way: Arguments aside, there's just one authentic recipe for wings
Passionate chefs love to argue about how to make authentic chicken wings. Dave Lobek settles the debate.
VIDEO: Man discovers secret dungeon under apartment
The day after moving into a new apartment, a man discovers that he is living above what is likely to be a 19th century dungeon.
Accused kitten killer faces 22 animal cruelty charges
Police say Ronald Fraser Golden kept a "cat room" in his house where he threw kittens onto the floor, stomped them and wrung their necks.
- BBQ My Way: Arguments aside, there's just one authentic recipe for wings
McKamey’s to hold concert Saturday at PPC Cowboy Church in Santo
If there is one word that describes The McKameys, it would be sincere.
Mineral Wells Bible Study Club working through Book of Acts
Ms. Carol Noeding hosted the Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study Club on Jan. 22, 2014, at the Black Horse Restaurant.
Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible study
The Mineral Wells Wednesday Bible Study Club met for its first meeting of the new year on Jan. 8, 2014 at the Black Horse Restaurant. Mrs. Carolyn Evans served as both hostess and lesson leader.
- McKamey’s to hold concert Saturday at PPC Cowboy Church in Santo