BRAZOS RIVER BASIN, Texas (FOX 44) – The Brazos River Authority has announced that even though some area lakes are already well below their normal levels, water is being released from those reservoirs to meet desperate needs downstream. This water will soon be joined by more from lakes even further up stream.

For the past several months, the Brazos River hasn’t had much streamflow. So to meet water supply needs in the lower basin, releases are being made from several Brazos River Authority reservoirs. As the supply in these reservoirs declines, BRA hydrologists are challenged to balance local needs with areas lacking adequate supply.

BRA has been releasing water from several system reservoirs – including Lakes Somerville, Limestone, Whitney and Belton – to meet downstream water supply needs. Further releases are planned for reservoirs even further upstream – including Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Granbury.

Due to the current drought, decreased streamflow along the mainstem of the Brazos River – below the reservoirs – has caused natural flows to drop to a point which requires releases of water stored in the BRA reservoir system.

“BRA hydrologists analyze the system as a whole, considering local water supply needs, available storage in each reservoir, constraints in water rights, and multiple other factors to determine which reservoir has enough water to allow a stored water release to occur,” said Aaron Abel, BRA Water Services Manager.

“The goal is not to empty a lake and then move to the next one,” Abel said. “Instead, hydrologists work to use the stored water as evenly and efficiently as possible to balance drought impacts across the basin.”

It was noted that some locations within the basin, and in Texas, have not seen measurable rainfall in over 30 days. It was only 81 years ago that these lakes existed at all. Each human-made reservoir was constructed with a goal – to either serve as a water supply source, help with flood control, or cool the power plants that allow us to turn on the lights each day.

Because of this, the water levels of the eleven reservoirs within the Brazos River Authority water supply system will always fluctuate as their supplies are used.

It should be noted that Lake Waco is not fed by the Brazos River, but rather by various forks of the Bosque River and additionally by creeks. It does, however, release water which joins the downstream flow into the Brazos – where the Bosque River joins it not far from McLennan Community College.