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Drought brings Caddo Lake levels to near record-low

By Hannah DeClerk hdeclerk@news-journal.com
Oct. 4, 2011 at 11 p.m.


Caddo Lake water levels are nearing an all-time low, and officials said actual levels could be even lower because a measuring gauge has been stuck.

The elevation gauge for Caddo Lake on Tuesday read 166.88 feet, which is 0.75 feet higher than the lowest level recorded Nov. 2, 1956, officials said.

However, some officials suspect the levels could be off because the gauge has been trapped by large amounts of debris created by the drought.

"There are a couple different theories. Personally, I think it is stuck. But we have been keeping a constant flow of water from Lake O' the Pines to Caddo Lake so that may be keeping the levels stable," said Lee Thomas, team leader with the Northeast Texas Municipal Water District.

Thomas said Caddo Lake officials have contacted members of the U.S. Geological Survey, who are expected to check the gauge this week.

"We are curious as to why the recorded levels have not changed, considering the drought conditions," Thomas said.

According to records obtained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Caddo Lake has remained at 166.88 to 166.87 feet for almost the entire month of September.

However, Thomas said that could be due to the 33 million gallons of water released daily into Caddo from Lake O' the Pines.

"The water is not going to bring us out of a drought, but it will deter the conditions until we get rain," he said.

Thomas said two of Caddo Lake's tributaries, Little Cypress and Black Cypress Bayou, have no water flow.

"When they say they are seeing it as low as it has ever been, they may be very correct," he said.

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