Falcon Lake running low on water

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:12 AM CDT
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ZAPATA, TX. (KGNS) - Falcon Lake, which used to be a popular area for fishing is reportedly shrinking.

Zapata resident Oscar Zamora is one of many who is concerned about the future of the community’s lake.

Zamora has fond memories of going to the lake to fish with his family and friends, but now those days seem like distant memories.

“I just feel that it’s not the same anymore; not a lot of people come down to fish. I feel like people are just starting to worry like what is going to happen next if the lake honestly dries out”, said Zamora.

Oscar says after seeing the current water levels at the lake, he and his family are doing everything they can to save water, even going as far as driving several miles north to buy bottled water in large amounts.

So what has caused the lake to now resemble a pond? Extreme weather might be the answer.

Because of the drought and weather conditions, Zapata County Judge Joe Rathmell says if this situation continues, it would be disastrous not only for the town’s economy but the people as well.

“We’re at a critical point, of course, our community would be without water and certainly that would be devastating and make our community unlivable”, said Judge Rathmell.

Rathmell says the lake is the main source of water for thousands of people living in Zapata.

“We treat about 3 million gallons of water per day for our residents, conservation level would be 301 feet above sea level, so we are more than 46 feet below sea level. The amount of sentiment build-up in the area is more than 10 feet. So now, instead of having 20 feet of sentiment, we got 30 feet of sentiment on the river bottom and it makes it impossible to draw water at the current levels that we are seeing right now.”

Judge Rathmell says he and other county leaders are currently working to find a permanent solution.

In the meantime, he asks people to conserve water as much as they can but if the water levels continue to decrease, Oscar and his family say they have no other option but to leave his hometown.

“All we can do is probably hope for the best, if not I’m sure people will start to move out of this town and head up probably up north or something”, said Rathmell.

Congressman Henry Cuellar said in a statement that he’s working on finding both a short-term and long-term solutions.

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