Lake Thomas is more than 99 percent empty, with the lack of water inflow and high temperatures drying out the lake at a rapid pace. That is also affecting the quality of water with more sediment due to the lack of water-level elevation.
The Colorado River Municipal Water District (CRMWD) has completed the $2 million project that connects a pipeline between the Snyder intake station and the Big Spring/Odessa intake station. It will allow up to 6 million gallons of water per day to be pumped to Snyder from the O.H. Ivie Reservoir's Odessa station.
"The contractor did the final pressure check (Wednesday)," said CRMWD General Manager John Grant. "We already have moved water through the pipeline and we are in position to bring it into Snyder."
The pipeline is buried three feet under the lake bed and will be used as a back-up until Thomas is completely dry.
Grant said the district is monitoring water levels and the pipeline is ready to begin operation as soon as it is needed.
The district also has worked out the requirements for Snyder's wells with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Grant said the wells could be online in another 60 days.
The Ward County well project is ahead of schedule, Grant said, noting that drilling should be completed in mid-June.
While Ivie has significantly more water than Thomas, it is just 16 percent full, compared to being 28.99 percent full in April 2011.
Since April 2011, the depletion of Lake Thomas has rapidly accelerated. Over the year, the lake has gone from 5-percent full to its current .93 percent, and has lost nearly 9,000 acre-feet -- from 10,100 in March 2011 to 2,227 as of Monday. It also is more than eight feet lower in elevation than this time last year.
The district set Snyder's water restrictions for the summer at 1.8 million gallons per day, the result of the devastating drought that has gripped Texas for the past year. Last summer, Snyder was allowed 2.5 million gallons a day.