Briefing lta to key leaders on drought and lake elevation safeguards v3 2014
Lake Texoma Association
Lake Texoma Association
The Lake Texoma Association (LTA is) celebrating over 50 years of
promoting and protecting Lake Texoma.
LTA is a nonprofit organization functioning much like an area-wide
chamber of commerce promoting the entire Lake Texoma region, both
Oklahoma and Texas.
Importance of Economy and Jobs
Pew Research Center surveys, businesses and the public have clearly
indicated that the economy and jobs trump all other policy priorities.
Strengthening the nation’s economy and improving the job situation stand
at the top of the public’s list of domestic priorities for recovering from the
recession over the next several years.
Federal, state and local legislators , government officials and others are
increasing emphasis on the economy and jobs.
Lake Texoma’s Regional Economic Engine is focused on Recreation and
Tourism and has a critical and significant impact on the regional economy,
jobs, and the quality of life of Southern Oklahoma and North Texas.
What economic impacts does
recreation and tourism have?
Regional Recreation and Tourism have a variety of economic impacts.
Tourists , boaters, fishermen and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts
contribute to sales, profits, jobs, tax revenues, and income in the area.
The recreation and tourism industry, in turn, buys goods and services from
other businesses in the area, and pays out most of the income as wages and
salaries to its employees. This creates secondary economic effects in the region.
Lake Texoma Regional Economic Impacts
Economic benefits in Tier -1 occur along the lakeshore.
Economic benefits in Tier -2 occur within 30 miles of Lake Texoma and Tier -3
ranging up to 300 miles or more such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Oklahoma City,
Kansas and West Texas add greatly to the economic multiplier effect.
For example, numerous Tier -3 fishermen, boaters, campers and tourists
regularly visit Lake Texoma on several weekends and quite a few days or weeks
of vacation for their primary recreation. They purchase boats, engines, fishing
and camping equipment, motor homes and travel trailers and spend travel
funds that all contribute to the regional economy and jobs.
General Outlook 2014 and Beyond
Lake Texoma normally attracts more than 6 million visitors and
generates more than $600 million per year in Tier 1, 2 and 3 economic
Lake Texoma started the 2013 summer season with some temporary
relief from the ongoing drought since 2011 with a normal 617 msl lake
elevation. The summer and fall have been hot and dry seasons.
Lake levels have decreased rapidly due to drought, high temperatures,
evaporation and greatly increased hydro-power generation.
The Lake Texoma elevation has decreased below 610 msl 1/1/2014 and is
approaching 605 msl greatly increasing safety hazards, infrastructure
and boat damage, closing most boat launching ramps and causing major
regional visitor decreases.
Most lake area businesses have reported 20 to 40% reductions in revenue
during previous droughts. Drought intensity outlooks are increasing.
$120-140 million loss / per year
Over 2,700 Oklahoma and Texas jobs at Lake Texoma are being affected
to varying degrees as well as the overall regional economy. Types of
regional destinations, businesses and tourism/recreation follow.
LAKE TEXOMA REGIONAL ISSUES
According to the interagency National Drought Resilience Partnership
to Help Communities Prepare for Drought and reduce the impact of
drought events on livelihoods and the economy "The impacts of drought
can be devastating to local communities and economies and don't end
with the onset of fall and winter."
Lake Texoma surface elevations have rapidly decreased from the normal
conservation pool elevation of 617 msl in June 2013 to the first serious
alert point of 612 msl on 10/30/2013 identified in PUBLIC LAW 100-71,
7/11/1987. Lake elevations were at 609 msl and rapidly declining on
The water demand for the cumulative hydroelectric power generation,
water supply, evaporation and National Weather Service and other
drought outlooks for several months in 2014 indicate critically low lake
elevations and severe regional economic impacts will be reached in the
Moreover, severe regional droughts have repeated every 15 to 20 years
since 1895 according to USDA’s Annual OK Precipitation History.
HYDROELECTRIC POWER GENERATION
INCREASES BY SWPA
Near and long term problems are caused by the federal Southwestern Power
Administration (SWPA) that points to Texas market demand and pricing
spikes causing their major increase in generating Lake Texoma power for
Texas customers and rapidly depleting the critical water reserves of Lake
Texoma up to three feet of surface elevation per month.
This is only one example of increasing and future Upper Red River and Lake
Texoma cumulative hydropower/water supply demands and normal cyclic
severe drought conditions within the watershed exceeding available supplies.
Public Law 100-71 enacted in 1987 clearly does not provide adequate protection
26 years later for several hundred million dollars of existing, planned and
future tourism and recreation revenue and economic development in the Lake
Texoma area and requires updating to meet present and forthcoming
Flood, Drought Control and Conservation are essential for modern river
watersheds and reservoirs. The lake area is one of the increasingly important
federal project purposes comparing favorably economically with
hydroelectric power generation, water supply and watershed management. 7
Future Lake Texoma and Red River water demand and supplies face
serious challenges for residential, commercial and agricultural
A review of Texas Water Regions A, B, C and D future demands,
alternatives and plans along the Red River Watershed indicate that there
simply isn't enough water in the Red River and Lake Texoma to meet
cumulative DFW area and Upper Red River demands.
The situation is worsened by the increasing sedimentation and
decreased water supply volume in Lake Texoma for water supply, greatly
increased hydroelectric power generation as well as the return of
normal, recurring, extended drought conditions in the region.
As a result of major stakeholder concerns. the Lake Texoma Association
has passed a Resolution to provide Lake Texoma Region Drought,
Tourism, Recreation and Lake Elevation Safeguards.
Lake Texoma Water Annual Loss and
Lake Elevation Changes Summary
Southwestern Power Administration (SWPA) Hydroelectric power generation:
3 feet/month (or 36 feet) per year in a 86,000 acre reservoir. This is a major
new increase over normal generation.
North Texas Municipal Water District water supply removal: 3 feet per year
using the new pipeline operational in the Spring of 2014.
Evaporation during hot drought conditions: 5.79 feet per year based upon 2011
experience for a grand total of ~ 45 feet per year for all current causes.
The National Weather Service Drought Seasonal Outlooks for Lake Texoma
and the Upper Red River Watershed indicate drought persisting or
intensifying in the watershed.
NWS Long Term Climate Influencing Factors graphics indicate that current
variations in global Sea Surface Temperatures support long term Texas and
regional drought conditions.
Lake Texoma elevations can decrease rapidly from the average conservation
pool of 617 msl to below 607 msl causing major negative economic impacts.
Impacts increase exponentially in a severe drought.
FLOOD AND DROUGHT CONTROL IS
REQUIRED FOR MODERN RESERVOIRS
Public Law 100-71 enacted in 1987 clearly does not provide adequate
protection 26 years later for several hundred million dollars of existing,
planned and future tourism and recreation revenue and economic
development in the Lake Texoma area and requires updating to meet
The Lake Texoma region is one of the increasingly important federal
project purposes comparing favorably economically with hydroelectric
power generation, water supply and overall watershed management.
Flood, Natural/Manmade Drought Control and Effective Conservation
are essential for modern river watersheds and reservoirs.
Many water reservoirs utilize drought management plans and
conservation/water restrictions to conserve the available water supply in
times of drought and emergency.
Obviously Lake Texoma requires an effective Drought Management and
Response Plan that includes specific percentages of conservation
capacity, lake surface elevations as well as water restriction stages.
SUSTAINING THE LAKE TEXOMA
Amend PUBLIC LAW 100-71, JULY 11, 1987 or enact other federal legislation
to add Drought Control as a key Lake Texoma Project purpose AND Amend
PUBLIC LAW 100-71, JULY 11, 1987 lake surface elevation action items and
trigger points and related management plans for the conservation pool in
Lake Texoma that:
(1) attempts to maintain a water surface elevation between the seasonal pool
elevation of 619 and 615 msl: Provided however, That hydroelectric power will be
generated and water supplied to help satisfy electric loads and water demanded
when the water surface elevation is between the seasonal target of 619 and 615
(2) when the water surface elevation drops below 615 msl or lower, implements a
public information, conservation and drought management program including
North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) Stage 2 or equivalent water
(3) when the water surface elevation is between 615 and 609 msl, provides for the
Corps to notify SWPA that hydroelectric power generation should only be made
when it is needed for rapid response, and short term customer peaking demands
(brown outs)as recommended by the power scheduling entity and determined by
the Corps; and
provides for the Corps of Engineers to notify municipal,
agricultural/irrigation and industrial water users to implement NTMWD
Stage 3 or equivalent water conservation restrictions designed to lessen the
impact of municipal, irrigation, and industrial water withdrawals.
(4) when the water surface elevation is between 609 and 600 msl(a) provides for the Corps to notify the SWPA that hydroelectric power
generation shall only be made to satisfy customer emergency power needs on
the power scheduling entity's electrical system as recommended by the power
scheduling entity and determined by the Corps; and,
(b) defines emergency criteria levels for water supply and power generation as:
(b1) electrical power blackouts and,
(b2) all water supply districts and their customers have implemented
their most stringent water use requirements such as NTMWD Stage 4 or
equivalent water conservation restrictions ;
(c) provides for the Corps of Engineers to notify municipal,
agricultural/irrigation and industrial water users that they shall implement
their most stringent water conservation measures designed to lessen the
impact of municipal and industrial water withdrawals.
(5) when the water surface elevation is between 600 and 590 msl(a) All water removal stops from Lake Texoma for any reason except for
minimal environmental flows of 50 cfs or less.