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Rains of little help to CRMWD reservoirs

July 18, 2013

Rains this week were good for farmers, gardeners and almost everyone else seeking a break from drought-like conditions. For the Colorado River Municipal Water District, however, the precipitation was of only modest benefit.

Parts of the Crossroads area have received more than 2 inches of rain since the start of the week, thanks to a low-pressure front that brought with it plenty of Gulf moisture. And while the slow, soaking rains were almost ideal for agriculture producers and will help green up area lawns, they didn't add much to CRMWD reservoirs.

“This is a good farmer's rain, but it won't do much for the water supply,” said John Grant, CRMWD general manager. “Unless the ground is already saturated — which it wasn't — we won't get much run-off into our reservoirs from such a slow, steady rain.”

Lake level reports back up Grant's claim: The rains raised Lakes Thomas and Spence by only two-tenths of a foot, “and that's basically what fell directly into the lakes,” he said. Both reservoirs remain extremely dry — Thomas is at slightly more than 2 percent capacity, while Spence is 5.78 percent full, CRMWD reports show.

The district's largest reservoir, Lake Ivie, fared better, Grant said. Runoff raised the lake's level by about 1.5 feet and it is currently at 17.21 percent capacity.

Grant said this area needs to receive heavier showers for the precipitation to have significant impact on reservoir levels.

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