An impact on PK

October, 2010
Lake Country Sun

Events at Glen Rose will have a significant impact at Possum Kingdom Lake.

With the proposed addition of two towers at the Comanche Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose, the Lake Granbury Waterfront Owners Association is fighting hard to maintain water levels.

The draft environmental impact statement shows significant amounts of water will evaporate from the cooling towers every year – in excess of 60,000 acre feet. That same report notes that PK Lake and Lake Granbury water levels will drop. And Lake Granbury property owners are seriously concerned about their lake level falling. For example, those owners refer to the “drought of 2009” when Granbury lake levels fell significantly while Possum Kingdom Lake water levels never fell more than just over 5 feet on a couple of occasions. That was without the additional two towers.

The WOA folks want assurances that their lake will be stable, even going so far as to solicit support for legislative action to force the Brazos River Authority to release more water from PK to do so. The organization is working very hard, through elected officials, to have Lake Granbury designated as a “recreational lake” with a stable lake level.

In addition, WOA members and Granbury city leaders want the generators at PK back on line, citing as a reason the additional release of water from PK. Granbury Mayor Ricky Pratt even suggested that Luminant, the Comanche Peak operator, or the Nuclear Regulatory Commission assume ownership and operation of the generators at Morris Sheppard Dam.

The stability of the water level at Lake Granbury would mean the water would have to come from PK, the generators operating would mean the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission stays. Both these situations would have a significant impact on not only PK leaseholders, land owners and businesses, but also Palo Pinto County businesses. With insufficient water levels, vacationers and weekend visitors could well decide to travel elsewhere.

The bottom line – PK water levels will fall if the towers are built. How much will depend a lot on what assurances property owners at Lake Granbury can get from the Legislature or BRA.

There are a number of pressures on PK already – the proposed Cedar Ridge Reservoir on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River, the property sale and a possible reservoir on the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos.

But there is common ground, The folks at Lake Granbury have as much heartburn with the Brazos River Authority as people at PK. Their experiences are as frustrating, if not more so. They are not opposed to the additional towers at Comanche Peak, they are opposed to using Lake Granbury as the water source without assurances the lake level will be stabilized.

They are worried about their lake, people at PK are worried about theirs. While some of the goals are directly opposite, others are in tandem. The point being, people at PK should become aware and involved in what WOA is working toward. With the property sale nearly done, it is time to look to other issues that will have a lasting and dramatic effect on the future of Possum Kingdom Lake. There is room for compromise, there are areas where joint efforts can pay off, bit only if everyone pays attention.

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