U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stress importance of warnings behind dam

Published June 18, 2013

FORT WORTH, Texas – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives at Whitney Lake want to remind visitors to be cautious when recreating in the waters below Whitney Dam. Visitors should stay away from restricted areas pay attention to sirens and posted warnings. 

Riverside East Park, located on the Hill county side of the dam has long been a popular location for river access. Daily, visitors come to wade in the river, fly fish, and launch boats. It is paramount that visitors do not venture beyond the posted signage or designated swimming areas. This is due to the danger associated with the release of water from the dam’s hydropower plant. 

Although with each release or change in flow a warning siren is sounded, there is no delay between the siren and the release or change in flow of the water. Therefore, not only is activity beyond the posted signage forbidden and considered a violation of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, it is a huge safety risk. In addition, water recreation in the riverbed outside the restricted area will also experience increased flow and potentially dangerous conditions during water releases. As in any undesignated swimming area, caution should be used in these areas as well.  

Park rangers have reported submerged vehicles and loss of other personal property by visitors that ignored the warning signs and chose to recreate in restricted areas. These losses could have been easily avoided. 

An average release of 2,300 cubic feet per second, per unit, should be expected when the warning siren sounds for a total of 4,600 CFS. A cubic foot can be described as a box of water measuring one foot by one foot by one foot or roughly the size of a basketball. Imagine 4,600 basketballs coming at you per second from the gates of the dam. 4,600 CFS is an average release and occurs frequently. When flooding occurs, larger release amounts should be expected. 

For more information about Whitney Lake or Dam, call (254) 622-3332 or visit the Whitney Lake website at http://www.swf-wc.usace.army.mil/whitney/


About the Fort Worth District: The Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was established in 1950. The District is responsible for water resources development in two-thirds of Texas, and design and construction at military installations in Texas and parts of Louisiana and New Mexico.  Visit the Fort Worth District Web site at: www.swf.usace.army.mil.
Ed Rivera

Release no. 13-039