Houston forced to use reserves from Lake Conroe

August 16, 2011 6:29:02 PM PDT
Just one day after the city of Houston issued mandatory Stage 2 water restrictions, officials have asked for some of the water in Lake Conroe to be sent to Lake Houston. On Tuesday the water started flowing. But that doesn't mean we'll be able to put that water on our dried out lawns.

The effects of the drought can be seen everywhere. In Houston hundreds of broken pipes have city crews working overtime. But Houston is far from the only place impacted -- communities throughout our area are facing different challenges.

The Kelley family home used to be lake front property -- not anymore.

"This has never happened before," said Robin Kelley. "This is devastating, really."

Lakes and ponds that dot the Quail Valley subdivision in Missouri City have all but disappeared. When the water level goes down, so do the property values.

Homeowner Ken Kelley said, "The value of the houses have dropped 25 percent just from the lake being gone."

With these dry conditions, it may surprise you that Missouri City and several surrounding communities don't lack drinking water. A newer water treatment plant is supplying the area with all its needs and there are no mandatory watering restrictions.

Missouri City Mayor Allen Owen said, "We're asking people to use common sense. We're on voluntary water rationing right now. We hope we don't have to go to mandatory."

The city of Houston also had no mandatory water restrictions until Monday. On Tuesday engineers opened up the dam at Lake Conroe so some of that water, up to 50 million gallons a day, can flow into Lake Houston, ensuring the city and the communities it supplies will be in good shape.

While this water release was planned, the hundreds of unplanned broken water mains are taking a toll on city residents.

"It's a little bit surprising that nothing's been done, considering there is a water shortage in Houston," said resident Atisha Manhas.

There simply aren't enough crews to fix all the leaks around Houston. Until our weather takes a drastic change, more lakes will be drying up.

"We're just praying for rain," said Robin Kelley.

There's a lot of praying going around for that rain. City officials don't know yet how long that Lake Conroe water release will continue.

Other communities, such as Bellaire and West University Place, which only have voluntary water restrictions in place, are urging conservation.

Check out the entire list of water restrictions in the area.

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