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Why the Grand River Dam Authority Wants Permission to Change Lake Levels

Filed by KOSU News in State Impact.
March 12, 2013

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Inner-tubers at Grand Lake in northeast Oklahoma.

The Grand River Dam Authority operates the dams creating Lake Hudson and Grand Lake.

The GRDA’s authority is licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which sets water elevation standards for Grand Lake.

But the drought it making it harder to follow those standards, the Tulsa World’s Randy Krehbiel reports.

It is asking for permission to operate the lake below mandated levels during the drought, but also to hold water above those levels if it becomes available.

Upstream from Grand, lake authorities in Kansas are holding more water than normal. And water must be regularly released from Grand Lake through the GRDA-controlled Pensacola Dam into Lake Hudson to “alleviate chronic downstream dissolved oxygen problems,” the World reports:

Grand is normally kept at 742 feet during winter and spring, 744 feet during the summer and 741 feet during a brief period in the fall. FERC allowed the GRDA to forgo last year’s draw-down to 741 feet because of the drought.

The GRDA said it is asking to be allowed to take Grand Lake above 742 feet through the end of May if in-flows permit.

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