Once this time of year hits, many wonder how the water supply is looking and if the city will be OK for the summer.
Things are looking a little better, according to Wesley Seale Dam Work Coordinator David Lozano.
In comparison to last year’s low water levels at Lake Corpus Christi, from where Beeville gets its water, it is much higher. Last June, the capacity hovered around 22 percent.
As of Thursday, the capacity was at 72.5 percent, despite the rain Beeville has experienced, which should continue through the weekend. The capacity will drop, due to the extreme heat of a Texas summer and evaporation.
“We need to keep it at about 74 (percent),” Lozano said. “It won’t get below that.”
However, Lozano doesn’t envision it to considerably drop past where it is now. He plans on keeping it at around 74 percent capacity.
“We’ll make small releases at Choke Canyon to keep it at that level,” Lozano said.
The combined capacity of both Lake Corpus Christi and Choke Canyon Reservoir is at 42.3 percent, up from last year’s 35.2 percent.
The current elevation of Lake Corpus Christi is sitting at 90 feet above mean sea level, up from last year’s 79.8 feet. The highest elevation of Lake Corpus Christi, when full, is 94 feet.
Along with the water levels being higher than last year, there were questions surrounding the quality of the water, which Lozano believes to be in good condition.
“The quality is like always,” Lozano said. “We’ve had some rain come in, so it’s probably in good shape, as far as the water quality.”
The increased water has allowed for more customer usage as well. According to Beeville Utility System Director Cesario Vela, there are no restrictions regarding water use.
Despite the water levels being higher, Warning Coordination Meteorologist John Metz says that the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center is forecasting a higher probability for a warmer and drier summer.
“The probabilities for warmer and drier than normal conditions is 40 percent,” Metz said. “This also means there is a 33 percent chance for a normal summer, and 27 percent chance of a cooler and wetter than normal summer. But again, the chance for warmer and drier conditions is higher, and slightly more likely.”
The reason for a drier summer is due to El Niño. El Niño produces a climate pattern of stronger wind shear over the Atlantic Hurricane Basin, which reduces storms, thus lowering the probability for rain.
On one hand, Lake Corpus Christi is looking better now, as opposed to last year. On the other hand, the summer looks to be drier. But, things could change.
“However, this doesn’t mean we will not have a tropical storm or hurricane this season,” Metz said. “We still must be prepared and remain vigilant.”
Mackey Torres is the regional editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5219, or at regional@mySouTex.com.