Take a good look at this picture, which I pulled down from my Facebook feed.
It confirms what a fellow I met Friday told me. It’s not that I disbelieved him, but it’s nice to see visual evidence of what he said.
This is the Canadian River, upstream from Lake Meredith. The fellow I met told me he lives in Keyes, Okla., and he came to Amarillo to take care of some business. He said he’d “hadn’t seen the river flowing like this since, oh, I don’t know when.”
This picture confirms some very good news for the formerly parched Texas Tundra.
That water is flowing rapidly into Lake Meredith, the body of water once derided as “Puddle Meredith.” They built a dam across the river, finishing the job in 1965. The dam backed the water up behind it, forming Lake Meredith about 55 miles north of Amarillo. It rose eventually to more than 100 feet in depth.
Then it receded, ever so slowly, for lots of reasons. Heavy irrigation. Growing urban consumption. Salt cedar trees planted to protect against soil erosion, but which turned out to be thirstier than anyone imagined. Evaporation and a lack of rainfall.
Now the tide is turned, if you’ll pardon the metaphor.
El Nino has been warming the Pacific Ocean currents. The storms have been more frequent coming in from the coast. Snow runoff in the Rocky Mountains has helped as well.
El Nino, of course, is creating serious havoc as well, as our neighbors in Mexico and in downstate Texas are finding out as they’re coping with that monstrous Hurricane Patricia. We all wish them well and pray for their safety.
Lake Meredith, which saw its depth reduced to about 26 feet in 2013, is now back to more than 60 feet. And it’s rising.
Water authorities had stopped pumping from the lake. Now they’re pumping again.
OK. Is there a lesson here?
Sure there is. Let’s not assume that we’ll have this water forever.
I prefer to continue to act as though we’re still in drought conditions.
Many of us got pretty nervous around here when the lake shrunk so badly. Remember that time?
Enjoy the rain and the river flow that comes with it. However, let’s not get smug.