Maybe you see the lake level reported every day on TV or on LakeTexoma.com/level, but you don't necessarily know how to understand the number you see.
Unfortunately, since June of 2012 the number has been going down, meaning the water is not as deep because there is less water in the lake.
OK, that's no secret... but what does it really mean?
First of all, the numbers represent the number of feet above mean sea level, which is a standard geological marking system used for land elevations (think mountains) and aircraft movement (think airliners at 33,000 feet.) It has nothing to do with the depth of water in the lake.
As of today, it means that Lake Texoma is about 5.5 feet lower than normal at this time of year, with a lake level of 611.56 feet.
And that means watercraft owners and operators, especially those piloting sailboats with deep keels and large powerboats that sit lower in the water, had better keep a close watch on depth finders as they travel. Having a working knowledge of the topography of the lake bottom and channels is also important. Watching the buoys is critical.
But what does the low lake level mean to everyone around Lake Texoma, not just the boaters?
It means that northern Texas and southern Oklahoma are under drought conditions, and the higher-than-normal winter temperatures and less-than-average precipitation do not indicate any immediate change for the better.
It means that hydroelectric power generated by releasing water at the Denison Dam will continue to decrease lake levels from time to time.
And it means that because Dallas-area suburbs will soon be using water piped out of the lake for municipal treatment, Lake Texoma levels will continue to drop.
The North Texas Municipal Water District is currently constructing a $300 million dollar, 46-mile pipeline (with pipe up to 8 feet in diameter) that will take water out of Lake Texoma directly to the NTMWD treatment plant in Wylie.
It means that when this pipeline is completed, scheduled for the fall of 2013, Lake Texoma will experience an unprecedented new drain on its water level, even under drought conditions.
Nobody knows exactly what will happen when the pipline is completed, because nobody can accurately predict the weather.
All I can say is - LET'S ALL PRAY FOR RAIN!!!!