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Heavy rainfall, Brazos River feed high water level at Buffalo Springs

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 11:34 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Monday night’s storm, on top of recent rainfall in the past few days, caused the water level at Buffalo Springs Lake to rise a foot and a half.

Some residents told Lake Manager Brandon Powell they got four inches of rain Monday night.

He says water levels rose because of the quick and heavy rainfall, and because the Brazos River feeds into the lake.

Aubrey Spear, the Water Utilities Director at the City of Lubbock, says while a small amount of storm runoff from the city enters the Canyon Lake system, it’s not the major contributor.

“We wanted to be a good neighbor and demonstrate to Ransom Canyon, Buffalo Springs, those downstream, how much we’re really affecting the Canyon Lakes system, the Brazos River during a storm event,” Spear said.

A 2010 study found Lubbock’s impact during a 100-year-flood would only raise the water level at Buffalo Springs less than two and a half inches.

The City has three drainage systems that help transport flood water from the playa lakes to the Brazos River, which feeds into Buffalo Springs Lake.

Spear says the systems prevent a large slug of water from entering the river during a major rain event.

“The important thing for people to remember is mother nature can really dump a lot of water onto us very rapidly compared to what we can ever convey in a man-made system,” Spear said.

The majority of water that ends up in the Canyon Lake system during a big storm comes from the Black Water Draw and Yellow House Draw.

Spear says most of Lubbock’s yearly rainfall is between mid-May and the end of June.

Within city limits, the streets act as a drainage system to get water into the playa lakes.

“That is the most efficient and the least expensive way for us to move that water that comes in very sporadically throughout the year,” Spear said.

Powell says Buffalo Springs Lake should be ready to go for Memorial Day weekend.

He says additional rain may cause some flooding to residents’ homes.

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