Below are the pumping, water releases and evaporation for May 2017. The current surface acres for Lake Fork is at 27,690+ acres as the lake is 0.35 feet above full pool.


May 2017



Evaporation for May 2017 = 7.96 inches or about 18,368 acre-feet. This is the equivalent of about 6 billion gallons of water lost by evaporation in May.


Rainfall Recorded at the SRA Headquarters for May 2017 = 5.44 inches.


Water Released for May 2017 by the SRA for Downstream Communities (including water pumped by Bright Star Salem and the City of Quitman and this also includes the water continually released through the pipes at the dam to meet the minimum flow requirements of the Sabine River Compact) = 599.9 acre-feet. This equals about 0.26 inches taken off the lake in May and equals about 195 million gallons of water. Communities that receive downstream water include Kilgore, Longview, Henderson and Texas Eastman in Longview.


Water Pumped by Dallas for May 2017 = 5,171.5 acre-feet or about 1.7 billion gallons. This is equal to about 2.24 inches of water being removed off the surface of the lake. Dallas pumped about twice the amount they pumped in April.


Water Released by the SRA through the Tainter Flood Gates for May 2017 = One or more gates were open for 4 days in May resulting in 13,478.1 acre-feet of water being spilled through the dam for 4.4 billion gallons of water. This is equal to about 5.84 inches of water being removed off the surface of the lake.


So, the total water removed from Lake Fork for May 2017 = 37,615.5 acre-feet or about 16 inches of water taken off the surface of the lake. This equals about 12.3 billion gallons of water removed from the lake during May. About 49% of the water removed from the lake in May was due to evaporation, while about 36% was due to spillage through the gates and 14% was from Dallas pumping.


2017 Totals Through May 2017


Evaporation for 2017 = 27.03 inches or about 2.25 feet, which equals about 62,303 acre-feet. This equals about 20.3 billion gallons of water removed through evaporation.


Rainfall Recorded at the SRA Headquarters for 2017 = 19.27 inches.


Water Released by the SRA to Downstream Communities for 2017 = 2,817.1 acre-feet, which equals about 1.2 inches of water off the lake. This equals about 918 million gallons of water released to downstream communities that have rights to the water.


Water Pumped by Dallas for 2017 = 8,849.1 acre-feet or about 2.9 billion gallons. This equals about 3.83 inches of water taken off the lake from Dallas pumping through May. We are now 42% of the way through the calendar year and so far Dallas has pumped about 6.8%% of the water they are entitled to for the year.


Water Released by the SRA through the Tainter Flood Gates in 2017 = 23,494.1 acre-feet has been spilled through the Tainter Flood Gates, which equals about 7.7 billion gallons of water. This equals about 10.2 inches of water off the surface of the lake.



So, the total amount of water removed from Lake Fork so far in 2017 is about 97,463.3 acre-feet or about 3.52 feet of water or about 42 inches off the lake. About 64% of the water removed from the lake through May has been due to evaporation, while 24% has been from water released through the flood gates and 9% has been from Dallas pumping.


Whenever the SRA spills water through the gates the question always arises as to why they cannot allow water to stack up against the gates. The engineering design for the dam does not allow for holding water against the flood gates. It would potentially threaten the structural integrity of the dam and would be in violation of the operating manual for the dam. Also, Lake Fork Dam does not have an emergency spillway, so excess water has to be released through the gates.



Best wishes!!


Steve Chick
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