Brazos River Authority gives insight into low river levels

Published: Aug. 16, 2022 at 5:05 PM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - This summer can be described by one word: dry. This summer’s extensive drought conditions have taken a toll on crops, soil, and even local rivers.

The following viewer photo shows the current state of part of the Brazos River in south College Station.

Shocking image of the Brazos River
Shocking image of the Brazos River(Jessica Delgado)

Aaron Abel, the Water Services Manager for the Brazos River Authority, was able to provide additional insight into this photo and the current river conditions.

“The river is definitely low and we are definitely being impacted by drought conditions... but that picture isn’t representative of the total flow of the river at that location,” said Abel.

The water and flow conditions are low this year, prompting the River Authority to release reservoir water to keep water levels from decreasing rapidly. The picture above represents an area of the Brazos River that has a particularly wide basin, and flowing water is still present in this area. The wideness of the river, however, has allowed large portions of the river bed to dry up. Abel went on to state that “every drought is different.” Around early June 2022, the Brazos River Authority had to start initiating downstream water supply releases from several lakes and reservoirs around the region.

Interestingly enough, Abel added that “[drought] can actually help river levels... there are times where [the river authority] has to augment [low flows] by reservoir water release.”

Many have compared this year’s drought to that of the drought found in 2011. The river authority stated that the river gauge upstream of the Possum Kingdom Reservoir completely dried up in 2011. Nearly the entire state was under exceptional (Level 4 of 4) drought conditions in 2011. In 2022, large portions of the state are under those exceptional drought conditions, but not nearly the entire state.

Exceptional drought conditions in both 2011 vs. 2022
Exceptional drought conditions in both 2011 vs. 2022(KBTX Weather)

Abel went on to say that rain will fall again at some point, and that it is important to remember that higher flow conditions will eventually return to the Brazos River.

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