We are used to seeing our playa lakes full, but if you take a look at the playa lakes in Central Lubbock, you'll see the water has receded. At some lakes it's even low. That's good news for the residents in the area. In years past houses all around the lakes have battled being in a flood zone. But thanks to the new drainage system, water levels are balancing at playa's across town.
"The rains we've received in the last few days even though it's been a lot of water because of the duration of it, really hasn't made a big impact on our storm sewer system," SAID Storm Water Engineer Marsha Reed.
Reed says this system was designed to for the big heavy rains, but it's also set up to keep the playas at a steady level. "The lakes that are a part of this system are all right up to the bottom ports which is where they were designed to be to maintain that certain level.".
12 lakes are connected in this system. It was a two-year, $36 million project that stretches 14 miles long. Reed said the recent rains are the first to even push water through the storm sewer system. Residents in the area of these lakes, have already seen the difference.
"Since they've had that there hasn't been that much flooding, before that it would flood all the way up to the parks, it would flood over here. Now that we've had rain, the lake has actually filled up and it just drains through the new drains that they've put up," said Ribble Park Resident Teresa Villarreal.
"I think that whatever improvements they've done, it looks like they have been successful," Gabriel Manriquez said.
Gabriel lives near Leroy Elmore Park, he remembers the flood of '99 like it was yesterday. "The water came all the way up the street and into the lawn. It got in our garage and in the morning after it subsided we found a bunch of fish flipping and flopping in our lawn. And that kinda continued, the water was just rushing through and it continued most of the day."
But these days it's a different story, the streets don't have standing water, and the lake is so low an island is showing that residents said they haven't seen in more than a decade. So, so far the system works. We haven't had heavy rains since it's been in place, but the city is rather confident in the system.
This was just the first phase of the storm drainage projects, phase two will connect 12 more lakes in the South Lubbock area.