Our Water: Twin Buttes special report conclusion


The Twin Buttes Dam is a complex and vital mass of engineering. As years of available water supply continue to add up behind the dam, its worth keeping in mind that as with all dams, there is also a stream management and flood control component to it.

“Behind me you’ll see the spillway for the Twin Buttes Reservoir,” said Allison Strube, Water Utilities Director for the City of San Angelo. “Any water going over the spillway would be at a much, much higher level than the conservation pool (the elevation that the reservoir is considered to be 100% full). There is a flood control component to Twin Buttes — it is designed to capture more than twice the water it is now holding before breaching the spillway.”

With these important elements of the structure in mind, we spoke to several of the city staff responsible for overseeing the health and function of the Twin Buttes Dam and Reservoir. The importance and extent of the constant monitoring procedures came into focus.

A lot rides on the health of this infrastructure. The community that depends on it has shown their care for Twin Buttes, and care for the relationship between it and Nasworthy. Release of water from the Twin Buttes gates keeps the Lake Nasworthy — an important recreational assest for the city — water level constant.

It’s an old joke that San Angelo has the most miles of dams to hold back the least amount of water than any other place in the world. While the joke is rooted in some accurate observation during drought, that may change as Twin Buttes is continuing to climb beyond the 60% full mark. This milestone is due to more than just recent rains or the presence of the dam itself. The cut off wall installed at the end of the last century has proven to be holding, stopping the major seepage that plauged the dam for decades.

It is likely that when summer comes and Lake Nasworthy needs water from Twin Buttes, there will be less public concern about releasing water into the lake.

While it is of course hoped that the reservoir is never so full to make the spillway necessary, San Angelo can rest easy knowing that their much-needed water is not slowly bleeding away, and that all of its water infrastructure is performing as-designed in safety, and will continue to serve for many, many years to come.

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Current status of COVID-19 testing in San Angelo

Water Conservation Status

Standard Conservation

San Angelo is in standard conservation, which restricts outside watering to twice every seven days at no more than 1 inch per week. Watering is prohibited between noon and 6:00 p.m., but runoff of more than 150 feet down any street, gutter, alley or ditch is prohibited.

Report watering violations by clicking on https://www.cosatx.us/departments-services/water-conservation/report-a-water-violation or calling 325-657-4409. Do your part; be water smart!