WACO, TX (FOX 44) – While the Gulf Coast faces extreme weather with Hurricane Ian en route, Central Texas is still in a dry period, at the start of fall.
The present heat still has Waco in stage two of its Drought Contingency Plan.
Waco city officials shared this morning, September 26, Lake Waco is at 493 feet above sea level; 10 feet below its normal range.
As park rangers see the constant decline, they’re encouraging visitors to take caution out on the water.
“You need to be cognizant of where you are and make sure you’re not going to hit any stumps or underground obstructions,” said Jarod Briscoe, Lake Waco lead park ranger.
Briscoe says these are the lowest water levels seen in nearly 20 years.
New boat launchers were added after the 2003 pool rise project and now they can’t be used.
“Whenever we decided to raise the pool those have come out the water now and you’ll fall off the end of them so now we have them closed,” said Briscoe.
The park rangers have had cases this summer of boaters hitting obstructions but report no major injuries.
Seeing recent rainfall in the area, Lisa Tyer, director of water utility services for the City of Waco says the rain needs to come upstream.
“We still declined all those days because the amount of rain in Waco has a limiting impact on the lake itself,” said Tyer. “What we really need is significant rain in our watershed, which is from Stephenville down.”
As the Bosque River feeds into Lake Waco, the city remains at level two water restrictions with multiple factors causing loss.
“How hot it is, how windy it is, how much cloud cover we have has a lot to do with how much of the lake evaporates, but every day it declines just a little bit,” said Tyer.
Tyer says the city would look into enacting stage 3 of its drought contingency plan if Lake Waco drops to 449 feet.
The National Weather Service is forecasting below average rainfall through the end of the year and city officials encourage the community to still conserve water.