December 11, 2005
Why is the water level of Toledo Bend Reservoir so low?
The Sabine River Authority of Texas says it is due to the lack of rain, the need to release water downstream to reduce the influence of incoming seawater and repair the dam. The SRA of Texas does not mention the main reason for the reservoirs low water level is the quantity of water released for generation of electrical power.
Louisiana has a state law, which requires power generation to stop when the water level has dropped to the 168 MSL (mean sea level). Louisiana has not enforced this law because they were waiting for the SRA of Texas to enact a similar rule. The LA law is reasonable and economically practical. The Reservoir was built to serve three purposes:
• Water Conservation
• Generation of Power
NO priority is given to any one of these three purposes.
The major source of income for the businesses on and around the Reservoir is generated by recreation, which includes fishing and boating. The low water levels affect businesses such as marinas, fishing tackle sales, restaurants, motels and lake property values. However, power generation is the major source of income for the Sabine River Authorities. The Power Sales Agreement contract provides water, at a very low cost to the power companies. The SRA of Texas claims the power companies would sue if they fail to supply water needed for primary and secondary power. Recently the power companies have sued the SRA of LA because the LA law. It appears that the power companies are the real managers of the reservoir, a detriment to water conservation and recreation. By law, the SRA’s are required to manage the lake, not the power companies.
A recent development is the Dallas project, in which they plan to take 600,000 acre-feet of water per year from our lake. The SRA’s are excited about this project because it would bring them more income than power generation.
To negotiate the lowest level that the water can be drawn down to:
• You can join the Bi-State Alliance to help lobby for responsible Reservoir management for local economic interest.
• Visit your local State and Federal Representatives. Keep in mind the Governors office of Texas appoints members to the SRA Board. Sabine county must have a member on the Texas SRA Board.
• Remember, the water in Texas and Louisiana is the property of the people. Not the property of the authorities, big business interest (such as power companies) or big city profiteers. We need to take more interest in water or it will be legislated out of our control.
It is time to change the management of the lake for the betterment of the people.
May God Bless each of you everyday.
Toledo Bend Bi-State Alliance
Route 1, Box 1516
Hemphill, Texas 75948