Low Water Levels Around Lake Diversion may Postpone Irrigation Again

Irrigation for farmers around Lake Diversion has been at a stand still since last year after the Wichita County Water Improvement District Board decided to postpone irrigation due to low lake levels.

Despite recent rains, lakes continue drying up and farmers may again not be able to pull water for irrigation.

Water from Lake Diversion is mostly used for irrigation but the City of Wichita Falls has municipal water rights when levels reach a critical stage.

Lake Kemp currently sits just under 30% and the controlled levels of Lake Diversion are one foot below the spillway.

Kyle Miller, General Manager for the Wichita County Water Improvement District #2, says levels at Lake Kemp are 25 feet below full capacity.

"We're 14% from where we were back last June when they decided to postpone it," Miller says. "It would take a substantial amount of rainfall."

Miller says after the water board decided to postpone irrigation last year to leave enough water supply for the availability of water use for the city and for the power plant, farmers have been left with few options.

He says unless a major storm hits the water sheds, the rain Texoma is getting will only doing so much.

"We are going to take every drop and be glad to get it," Miller says. "Until we get a flood event, I mean that's a large volume of water in a short amount of time, we won't see a significant increase in the elevation of the lake."

Miller says even if irrigation was allowed, the current water supply would cause more harm than good to farmer's crops.

"The water quality is high in chlorides and extremely high in electric conductivity and then the total dissolve solids are extremely high too; really that water quality isn't a desirable water to be using on crops for irrigation," Miller exclaims.

Irrigation that will resume as soon as lakes reach healthy levels.

"I'd say keep praying for rain because we're going to have to, we're going to need abundance of rain to pull us out of this situation," Miller says.

Miller says it's still too early to know when or if the water board will postpone irrigation this year but a decision could come during the district's next monthly meeting in May.

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