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Waco Lake facilities will be closed throughout summer due to flooding

Autumn Jones

"It seems like the goalpost keeps moving every time we get more rainstorms."

After weeks of intense storms and floods, officials at Waco Lake say it could be the middle of summer before lake facilities start opening back up.

Heavy rain and storms over the last several weeks have left parts of Texas flooded and destroyed. Currently, Waco Lake is resting just over 16 feet higher than its normal level. Most lake facilities remain closed aside from the Waco Dam and Bosque Park.

According to Michael Champagne, the manager for Waco Lake, parks and campsites could remain closed for the next month.

MICHAEL CHAMPAGNE: “Unfortunately, it seems like the goalpost keeps moving every time we get more rainstorms, you know, anywhere in the state right now, we're pretty much expecting partially closed through the end of June at a minimum. We've closed out Airport Park and Airport Beach further into July through the July 4th weekend, knowing that those parks are the last to come out of water and typically receive the most damages.”

Champagne and the Army Corps of Engineers are monitoring lake levels to see if a 4th of July celebration at the lake will be possible this year.

MICHAEL CHAMPAGNE: “Before we go ahead and completely close out for the 4th of July weekend, we want to make sure that we know what the lake levels are going to be at and if we have any chance of having something open. We don't want to close it ahead of time and cancel reservations knowing that we might have a chance to keep it open.”

The clean-up after a flood is a long process. First, the water has to completely come down. Then, all of the asphalt roads have to dry for two weeks before being driven on or they can cause serious damage. After the dry out, the assessment of damages can begin.

MICHAEL CHAMPAGNE: “It's going to be all hands on deck.”

But since flood control is the primary job of the lake, Champagne says taking the time to fix the facilities is worth it.

MICHAEL CHAMPAGNE: “We're here to protect downstream entities, you know, from flooding, from having, you know, major floods. We protect the city of Waco and all the communities all the way down to the coast. We impact our facilities to keep lives safe downstream. And so, unfortunately, we do have to then take the time to make the repairs. But the lake runs a lot easier when all the parks are open and everybody's out here enjoying it. So we're excited for the opportunity to get in there as quickly as we can and get what we can open.”

For 103.3 Waco Public Radio, I’m Autumn Jones.