Waurika Lake experiences 'partial recovery' - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Waurika Lake experiences 'partial recovery'

WAURIKA LAKE, Okla._Last week's heavy rains have chipped away at Southwest Oklahoma's drought, and the proof can be seen at one of the area's largest water sources, Waurika Lake.

For the past several months, the lake has sat below 30 percent capacity. But as of Monday following last week's rains, the lake sits at nearly 43 percent. Despite the good news, managers say they won't quit fighting the battle of drought.

Mother Nature has wreaked havoc in Southwest Oklahoma over the past few days. Even though the influx of rain has turned into a headache for many, it's just what the doctor ordered for this body of water.

"We are vastly relieved to see the amount of inflow that we've received and the elevation change the lake has undergone," said Dave Taylor, lake manager.

Rising above 40 percent capacity is something that Waurika's waters haven't done in more than a year. Taylor says it's hard to pinpoint an exact level for the lake as floodwaters from nearby Beaver Creek continue to arrive.

"It's a partial recovery. All the plans we're putting in place, we're not feeling as rushed to do all that," said Taylor.

The water that's surging into the lake may have given officials a little breathing room when it comes to the historically dry conditions. Taylor says all the rain we've been getting is not that uncommon and he stresses that Waurika Lake hasn't seen the end of the drought just yet.

"We have to focus on the fact that every drought that Oklahoma has had, at least one year like this, where there's been a lot of inflow. We've got to keep that long term vision in mind," said Taylor.

For these waters, that involves a $12 million silt removal project in June to free up more usable water and to bring the conservation pool back to normal elevations. For now, the rising shores symbolize a new hope for the watershed's future.

"This is just the start. If you're going to build a wall, you have to put that first brick in, and this is the first brick," said Taylor.

Other lakes in the area that have been drastically low are up as well. The Altus-Lugert reservoir currently sits at 32 percent and Tom Steed is registering at 42 percent capacity.

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