Drought Impacts Green Country Power Plants

Saturday, December 29th 2012, 11:24 pm
By: News On 6

The drought isn't just affecting crops and livestock.

The lack of water could also impact the energy supply.

Keystone Lake is one of The Army Corps of Engineers eight power plant reservoirs in Oklahoma.

"Last year, right about this time, we got some good rain and it really recharged a lot of our reservoirs," said Col. Michael Teague, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

But that isn't the case this year.

It's visible that Keystone's water levels are drastically down.

"When Mother Nature wants to be a pain, she is a pain," Teague said.

The challenge that the Corps has is how to balance water for everyone's needs.

Many use it for recreation, like fishing.

Wildlife and power sources also rely heavily on lake water.

"Our job is to manage what you've got," Teague said. "Make the best use of that water, use every drop and use it as many different times as you can."

Here's a look at some of the Corps' hardest hit lakes in the state:


  • Skiatook Lake only has 67 percent of its water supply.
  • Canton Lake has 40 percent.
  • Hugo Lake has 38 percent and Pine Creek is down to just 14-percent of its supply.
  • Although Lake Eufaula is at 70 percent, Teague said that wouldn't be the case without the Corps partnership with the Southwestern Power Administration.


"(Southwestern Power) this year has had to purchase $40 million of electricity from other sources besides hydroelectric power to meet their customer requirements," Teague said.

If that hadn't happened, the Corps says Lake Eufaula would only have 10 percent of its supply left.

Teague said this balancing act has been a difficult one, but it's paying off.

Take the Port of Catoosa, for example.

"We're lucky because we have some really superb reservoirs and as a consequence, our supply of water is really good," Port of Catoosa director Robert Portiss said.

Last month, the port was able to ship record amounts of soy products, despite how shallow the Mississippi River has become.

"From here to New Orleans, from here to Pittsburg, pretty good shape," Portiss said.

The Corps will continue to juggle water to ensure all critical needs are met.