BIG SPRING - Up to eight inches of intense rainfall Monday and Tuesday in Borden County brought additional inflow to Lake J.B. Thomas.
As of 7:45 am on May 6, Lake Thomas had risen 5.78 vertical feet and gained 28,710 acre-feet of new water supplies. Lake Thomas is now 58.32 percent full and contains 117,000 acre-feet of water or 38,124,567,000 gallons.
Inflow into Lake Thomas is expected to continue for the next several days while the remaining water in the watershed makes its way to the lake. The USGS measured the peak river flow on the Colorado River at FM 1205 near Gail, to be 24,800 cfs while the gauge height maxed out at 25 feet or 10 feet above flood stage. The last time Lake Thomas was at its current elevation was September 1967.
The amount of inflow that J.B. Thomas has received so far from this rain event, is equivalent to 8 months of additional water supply for the cities of Odessa, Big Spring, Snyder, Stanton and Midland.
Water conservation measures are left up to the cities to manage and implement. While the drought isn't over, this area may be turning the corner and seeing some much needed relief.
A drought begins with lack of rain, followed by dry soil and finally lakes drying up. In order to come out of the drought, we must go through this process in reverse. We need to start with rain, reestablishing soil moisture and finally we will see runoff into the lakes.
The people of west Texas have responded very well to the drought, which is now considered the new drought of record for our area and surpasses the drought of the 1950s, and have managed to keep water use down.