Tawakoni Deeper, But Not As Wide As Before

Article By: Brad Kellar
Herald-Banner Staff, June 06, 2007

This spring’s rains have left Lake Tawakoni with its highest water level in almost two years.

But the reservoir is still significantly behind in the amount of area it has covered in years past, according to measurements taken by the Sabine River Authority (SRA) and the United States Geologic Service (USGS).

In short, Tawakoni is approaching near-normal depth, but it is not as big around as it used to be.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the water level on Tawakoni was listed at 434.92 feet, according to measurements provided by the National Weather Service’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

Tawakoni dropped to its lowest-ever recorded level, at 424.9 feet, on Dec. 29, 2006. As recently as May 24, the level was just under 431 feet. But the heavy rains of the past few weeks have combined to push the level to just under the 435 foot mark.

While still about two feet below the conservation pool, or spillway; Ann Galassi, the Manager of Economic Development and Public Relations with the SRA, said it has been a while since Tawakoni was this deep.

“According to USGS data and SRA data, the last time Tawakoni was at 435 feet was July 5, 2005,” Galassi said.

Some two years of severe to extreme drought conditions left Tawakoni hurting. But Hunt County has received about 26 inches of rain so far this year, with areas nearer to Tawakoni receiving even more. Some portions of the Quinlan/West Tawakoni area reported more than three inches during the past week alone.

In years past, rain was so scarce that any precipitation which did fall was immediately absorbed into the dry ground. But with the soil currently saturated, much of the rainfall becomes runoff, filling the creeks which feed into Tawakoni.

Still, while the rains have boosted the water depth, Tawakoni is still a shadow of its former self in terms of overall size.

According to a history of the lake compiled by the University of Texas at Austin, construction on Tawakoni began in January 1958 and was completed in December 1960. The lake has an official volume capacity of 936,200 acre-feet.

Measurements taken by the SRA and USGS also indicated that it has also been about two years since Tawakoni reached the level of 900,000 acre-feet. As of Tuesday, the volume on Tawakoni was a little less than 800,000 acre-feet.

The volume was listed at more than 1 million acre-feet multiple times in 2001 — when the water level rose above 440 feet — but last reached the capacity mark in early 2005.

The SRA recorded an all-time high water level on Tawakoni of 442.58 feet on May 1, 1966.