Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Cleburne

October 28, 2009

Lake Pat now a feeder river

How high’s the water, mama?

Let’s just say Lake Pat Cleburne is now officially a river lake.

A river lake is one that pulls from, or feeds, a moving body of water.

Because Lake Pat is full and running over the conservation pool level of 733.5 feet, city water utility superintendent Bill Pannell said, “The lake is feeding the Nolan River, which feeds the Brazos River, which ultimately feeds the Gulf of Mexico, if Whitney lets it go [past the dam].”

Consider that the record low lake level for Lake Pat was 724.85 in October 1984, and that the last time the lake was completely full was May 2008. Ironically, the record Lake Pat low of the last five years was early 2008, when even the bluegills and catfish were sending out for bottled water.

“We came into this year about 1.5 feet down,” Pannell said. “In September, before all the rain, we were 3.1 feet down. Triple digits [temperatures] hit so early in the spring that demand on the system was really high. It was kind of a scary summer.”

Since then, the lake level has risen approximately four feet.

City of Cleburne’s two primary water sources are Lake Pat and Lake Aquilla. The city has access to 5,300 feet of water at Aquilla. Lake Pat’s yield is 5,760 feet.

“We have 9,700 feet at Lake Whitney for the future,” Pannell said. “It’s being engineered to be a filtering plant. What we’ll do is pull the salt out of it, blend it with Aquilla [water] and send it up to Lake Pat through the Aquilla pipeline.”

One would think the drought is finally at an end. Extension agent Chris Schneider is hedging.

“I don’t know,” he said. “Is it?”

Rainfall amounts throughout Johnson County reflect what’s happening at Lake Pat.

According to Cleburne weather recorder Gayle White, Cleburne received 43.14 inches of rain between Jan. 1 and Oct. 26. You can tack on another 0.33 inches from Monday night. Grandview was tops in the county with 46.29 inches from Jan. 1 to Oct. 26, while Burleson reported 42.40.

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