The escalating drought conditions in the Upper Brazos basin have diminished the river flow to a point where the required release can no longer provide enough water for two municipal providers that draw directly from the Brazos River while continuing to provide adequate environmental flow in the stretch of the Brazos River between Possum Kingdom Lake and Lake Granbury.
The current environmental release from PK Lake has been ongoing since the latter part of June and had been sufficient to maintain the river flow reaching the nearly 100 river miles downstream to Lake Granbury. However, over the past several weeks, the hot, drier conditions of August have taken a toll with much of the flow evaporating or being absorbed by the sandy river bottom as it moves downstream.
To confirm the flow loss was actually due to the drought and not a result of unauthorized pumping of Brazos River flows, last week the BRA teamed up with the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for a helicopter flight of the river to visually ensure no large illegal pumping was occurring. None was found.
The drought conditions in the upper Brazos basin have affected the entire watershed. Possum Kingdom Lake has reached its lowest point in 43 years. With very little water flowing into PK, the reservoir continues to drop.
As of Monday, the flow gage on the Brazos River just upstream of Possum Kingdom registered a meager 2 cfs.
It will take at least a week from the time the release change is made at Possum Kingdom Lake before the water should reach the Dennis gage. BRA will monitor conditions downstream and may make additional adjustments as necessary. The increased release is expected to result in Possum Kingdom Lake dropping about 1 inch per month faster than it is currently declining.