I am astonished at what I am reading about Lake Meredith, the 52-year-old reservoir due north of Amarillo that has had its share of ups and downs over many years.
Ute Lake, which is up the Canadian River from Lake Meredith, is overflowing. Water is pouring over the dam at Ute and is on its way into Lake Meredith. Water planners don’t yet know much water will flow into Meredith, but I’m here to tell you that it’s a big deal no matter how much water Lake Meredith receives.
You see, the lake that provides water for several West Texas cities — including Amarillo and Lubbock — is in far better shape today than it was about six years ago.
The lake was down to around 23 feet. It was rated as being at virtually zero capacity. Today? The lake level is approaching 70 feet, which is down from the 100-plus-foot historic high in the 1970s, but it’s still a damn sight better than it was when we were crippled by that regional drought.
You can count me as a doubter who believed the lake was doomed to remain down. You also can consider me astounded that Lake Meredith is rebounding to the extent it has been able to do.
The recent rain has helped, as it has fallen directly onto the Lake Meredith watershed. Now comes news that the deluge that soaked Ute Lake, N.M., also is bringing relief to Lake Meredith.
Yes, most of the Meredith water goes toward irrigation of cropland. Some of it pumped into municipal drinking-water systems.
It’s good news to be sure. I do hope, though, that High Plains residents do not grow complacent about the need to conserve this precious resource. Our water supply is going up … today. Tomorrow could tell us a different story.
Such as been the history of Lake Meredith.