A torrential downpour Thursday, Nov. 3, that dumped almost seven inches of rain on portions of Runnels County, has filled up the Ballinger lakes and that is good news for Ballinger officials, especially going into the colder months.
A torrential downpour Thursday that dumped almost seven inches of rain on portions of Runnels County, has filled up the Ballinger lakes and that is good news for Ballinger officials, especially going into the colder months.
“Having two full lakes in early November is about as good as it gets,” said Ballinger City Manager Bryan Grimes. “We couldn’t ask to be in a better spot.”
Last week, according to the National Weather Service in San Angelo, a stationary upper level trough converged on the area and dumping almost four inches of rain in Ballinger and almost seven inches in Wingate.
“The system kept feeding Gulf moisture over the area and it wasn’t moving,” said Aaron Woodward, a meteorologist with NWS.
So the rains on Nov. 3 filled up both lakes. Rains from Wingate, go into Valley Creek, which fills up the old lake. Rains over Norton, send water to Quarry Creek, which filled up the new lake.
Even though the lakes are 100 percent full, the city is still taking water from Lake O.H. Ivie of the Colorado Municipal Water District. Currently the city is drawing about 70 percent of its water from Lake Ivie and 30 percent from Ballinger lakes.
“We are paying for it, so we’re going to take it,” Grimes said.
But cooler weather prevails in fall and winter, the demand for water decreases.
Plus in the cooler months, there is not as much evaporation from the lakes, which helps preserve the water.
However, Grimes stressed that the city is still on target to plan for the future, and that means moving forward with the plans to purchase 1,250 acre feet of water from Lake Fort Phantom in Clyde.
“The memory of Randy Everett walking in to my office and telling me we would be without water in 60 days is still very real,” Grimes said. “We don’t need amnesia in terms of water.”
Grant applications from the USDA and the Texas Water Development Board are still on the table. The city applied for a $30 million grant from the USDA for the purchase of the water and the construction of a 75-mile pipeline. In September the city was approved for a$3.5 million grant from TWDB, which will pay for survey’s easements, planning and design of the project.
In coming weeks, Grimes and other Ballinger representatives will be meeting with officials from the USDA on the grant proposal.
“No options have been eliminated,” Grimes said.