Shrinking Lake Meredith, Texas

Lake Meredith is an artificial reservoir formed by the Sanford Dam on the Canadian River in the panhandle of Texas. The lake was originally created as a major source of water for area communities and for developing recreational opportunities. Due to continuous drought, water levels have declined significantly in the past few years, leading to the record low in 2011.

These Landsat 5 satellite images, acquired in 1990 and 2011, clearly illustrate the declining water levels. The lake is represented by the black feature near the center of the image. The light tones at the lower end of the lake indicate dry lands and former shores. The bright green indicates healthy vegetation along the river beds. The nearby industrial area (a petroleum plant and a carbon processing plant) shows as a dark tone in the image, and the community of Borger, Texas, can be seen in the right central portion of the image as a light blue tone. Irrigated fields show in the upper center of the image.

Landsat satellite images are useful in monitoring change on the Earth's surface. These images provide Texas officials with data to monitor the size of the lake over an extended period of time. Those data are useful for studying the effects of the drying and are helpful for planning future water usage.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011