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Why are all the ponds dry?

A statement from San Antonio Water System

August 1, 2022 The East and West Polder areas, as well as Bird Pond, remain dry due to drought conditions. All basins and Mitchell Lake are at appropriate water levels.
July 1, 2021 San Antonio Water System's project continues. However, they will provide water to the basin area through summer and Bird Pond is full from recent rains. The ponds are no longer categorized as "dry".

Original Statement: From September 2020.

SAWS is in the final stages of testing for the addition of 100 acres of new wetlands below the Mitchell Lake dam by 2024.  These wetlands below the dam will provide water treatment – effectively polishing the water leaving the lake.  Through 2020, we have been testing the performance of these water treatment wetlands with a pilot system near Mauerman road.  As part of this test, it has been necessary to operate the lake (and consequently the Polders) at a low elevation.  With the lake at this low level, our pump intakes to the Polders area are above the water elevation, therefore we are not capable of pumping lake water up into the Polder complex. 

The pilot test has demonstrated great success in treating the lake water.  When construction for the additional wetlands begins in 2022, the lake will often be in a low level, so part of the overall project will be reconfiguring the pumps and intake structure to be able to supply the basin/polder complex.

As part of the work in 2020, SAWS has discovered we will need additional regulatory approval to pump water from the lake into the Polder complex.  SAWS plans on obtaining this permit in 2021.  We are developing that information now.

SAWS remains committed to long-term support for the important bird habitats in the basin/polder complex, and the Audubon activities that provide access for the public.  We are sensitive to the environmental needs at the site, and we will notify you when we can raise the lake level and pump water into the Polder area.  


San Antonio Water System

Public Relations Office: 210-233-3622 

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