Guadalupe River Reaches Critical Level

Jul 19, 2009 | Victoria Advocate by David Tewes | Related Press

The Guadalupe River dropped so low over the weekend that Victoria had to stop pumping water for a few hours, a city official said.

While that didn’t force the city into the first stage of the drought conservation plan, that could happen this week. People would then be asked to voluntarily conserve water.

“There’s a strong possibility, I think,” said Lynn Short, Victoria public works director. “It doesn’t look like we’re going to get any rain.”

Mark Lenz, a National Weather Service hydrologist, agreed.

“Unless we get some rainfall, we’re really not looking for any improvements in the rivers and lakes,” he said. “We’re not looking for any major rain here in the next seven to 10 days.”

The city’s primary permit to take water from the Guadalupe requires it to stop pumping when the river flow drops below 250 cubic feet per second this time of year. That happened Sunday morning, Short said.

The situation would become more critical for the city if the flow stays below 250 cubic feet per second for a day. It would have to quit taking water under its primary permit until the river rises above the critical level for 14 consecutive days.

That has only happened once.

Victoria has other, smaller river water permits that could allow it to continue pumping water for a while, and Short said he would consult with the watermaster about that. The city also has a year’s supply of water stored in reservoirs near Riverside Park and back-up water wells.

The city has been pumping about 16 million gallons of water a day as people crank up their sprinklers in an effort to keep their lawns green. The city water plant has a rated capacity of 25.2 million gallons per day.

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