Falcon Lake heads into summer with little water to spare
With the summer months ahead, people living around Falcon Reservoir are already concerned water availability this year could be worse than the last. Falcon is the main source of water for the Rio Grande Valley, with more than a million people and farmers to serve.
Driving to the Zapata county seat, the southern bridge that used to straddle the reservoir is now standing over a dried up lakebed. At the nearby county boat ramp, it's getting harder for fishermen to get their boats into the lake and avoid damaging obstacles in the water.
And the low water problem is affecting the local government too.
"We are in a very difficult situation," Zapata County Judge Joe Rathmell said. "We don't have a lake here at the current levels it is right now. Basically, we have a muddy river flowing through our area."
He says most areas are no more than a foot or two of water. That's continued to challenge municipal pumps, which keep pulling up muddy silt.
Rathmell says the lake reached a near-record low of 253 feet several weeks ago before the state water master released water from Amistad Dam to help.
The judge says he's asking state and federal officials to leave the lake a little more full.
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