It was with a mixture of heartache and dread that I watched the weather forecasts call for rain in the Roundrock area as the last week passed. On Saturday and Sunday, I looked at the radar maps showing rainstorms directly over my part of the county. I had hoped that the dry week meant the man I spoke with would have had the chance to get out there to do the repair work to the dam and spillway, but he hadn’t called me, and I suspected that he hadn’t done the work yet.
We decided to go out to Roundrock on Monday to see what there was to see. I hoped we would see a repaired dam and a widened, re-directed spillway. I feared we would see a breached dam and an empty lake bed.
We didn’t see either.
What we saw was the status quo. Nothing had changed in the week we were away. The drive down was ominous though. We passed through several storms; the fields were flooded; the rivers were swollen. But the closer we got to Roundrock, the less rain appeared to have fallen. Certainly the woods were wet, and the tall grass we had to wade through in places soaked our pants, but overall it didn’t seem that the really heavy rains had fallen in the area in the preceding week.
The lake was down about half a foot, attributable to those leaks I used to loathe. I suspect that more water was drained off but that the rains that did fall had replenished some of what was lost. Even so, the leaks seem to have prevented the dam-topping flood I feared all week.
I had also worried (I seem to do that a lot) that when the man did come out with his big machines to push the dirt back up on the dam, he might not be able to see the valve cover or the valve drain outlet. He might bury them with all of the dirt he moved, or worse, he might break them by driving over them, causing an unstoppable draining of the lake. Thus my plan was to mark these two “delicate” parts of the dam so that he couldn’t miss them.
You see the fruits of my work above. I took this photo across the inland sea that is the pecan plantation these days. I hadn’t thought to take a picture of the two posts at the time I finished driving them into the ground, and by the time I “waded” across the soggy acre and remembered it, I wasn’t about to “wade” back again for a better shot.
What you see is the dam rising in the background. The exposed dirt in the top left corner is the eroding spillway. The exposed dirt in the top right corner is the eroding dam. The post on the right marks where the valve cover lies mostly buried in the flowing earth. The post on the left is just a best guess of where the outlet of the drain pipe is. We couldn’t find it. I think it is buried by the rocks and dirt that have washed off the dam. We dug for a while, in several places, looking for the pipe but never found it. So I drove the post in about where I thought it was, and a man on a dozer should be able to steer around the general area and miss the pipe (wherever it may be).
Had I been able to open the valve cover, and had I been able to open the valve, it might have been fun to see the water pressure bursting from the end of the pipe explode all of the rocks and dirt before it. But the ground we were standing on when we pounded the stakes quaked like jelly, and I had no intention of lying on my stomach in that muck to lean down into a buried barrel and reach for a valve that might not even open. Sigh.
- Coyote pups begin emerging from dens.