Lake Levels Dropping Fast, Water Usage For City Will Continue - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/26/05-Lake Tyler

Lake Levels Dropping Fast, Water Usage For City Will Continue

With the hottest part of the Summer just upon us, two East Texas lakes are quickly disappearing. Those who live on Lake Tyler and Lake Tyler East say the fun in the sun for tourists may not last much longer.

The two lakes are not just falling from evaporation, they're a primary water source for the City of Tyler.

"You can see where the wet mud is [below the boat dock] and that's [fallen in] about a week," says Ron Keely who retired to Lake Tyler East.

It is beautiful, and it is vanishing.

"I only have about two-and-a-half feet left under my boat. I may not wait another week to get it out," he says.

Greg Morgan of Tyler Water Utilities says while the water is dropping, that is normal this time of year.

"The lakes are built as water supply lakes and that's their primary function," he says.

They keep falling from the lack of rain, and because much of Tyler's drinking water comes from here. That, despite the addition of the new Lake Palestine treatment plant to take some of the load. The plant produced smell and taste problems when it was put online in 2003.

Keely: "You should make it run and run correctly. [The Palestine plant] was touted as being the solution to Tyler's water problems for the next 80 years."

The city responds.

"When our [water] demands are low, we're going to have to pick and choose how we're going to get the water," Morgan says.

So the Lake Palestine plant hasn't been running all the time. It was off during the cooler months of this year. The City says it just costs less to pull water from Lake Tyler than from the other plant farther away.

"We were up front with everybody when we began constructing the Lake Palestine plant that we were going to use Lake Tyler and Lake Tyler East as a source of water," Morgan adds.

Despite the drop, he says pumping will continue.

Meanwhile, boat owner and resident Byron Davis says recreational boaters and those on personal watercraft must be very careful.

"The people who come out here once a month -- they don't realize the lake levels have come down a foot or foot-and-a-half heading out," Davis says.

"And you're in trouble when you come across that wide open."

The City says over the past few weeks, since the Lake Palestine plant has been back on-line, both Lake Palestine and Lake Tyler have given about equal amounts to the city's taps.

Morgan Palmer, reporting.


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