Drought leaves boaters high and dry

August 2, 2011 4:07:43 PM PDT
Barely into August, people all over the area are feeling the heat. With a record drought across the state, many of the hot spots for finding some cool relief are running dry. From SkyEye HD, it was easy to see how Lake Houston is drying up, exposing lots of sand, dirt and debris.

Captain John Foster with Freedom Boat Club said, "As far as using the lakes, you just got to know where not to go."

We took a ride along Lake Conroe. Captain Foster showed me the drought is exposing similar dangers there, but he says they're not as bad.

"There's rocks sticking out close to the shore," Foster said. "You have to stay away from the shore a little further than you used to."

On this lake alone, boaters say they've seen the water levels drop from about six feet to two feet in some areas.

Travis Bushman said, "They can't really access the boat slips, they are so low. You can see people are barely able to get off of their boat on to the dock."

With Houston drawing a significant amount of drinking water from Lake Conroe and Lake Houston, public works has a plan of action in place, just in case drought conditions get worse.

"What we've done is talk with our partners with the San Jacinto Regional Authority and we will be authorizing the release of water from Lake Conroe into Lake Houston," said Alvin Wright with the Houston Public Works Department.

Eyewitness News learned the last time the city had to rely on that plan was during a major drought back in 1988.

Wright explained, "If we had no more rain for the next two years, we have enough water to supply the members of the community in Houston and our partners."

Still, with dry conditions seriously changing the landscape around the lakes, people nearby say they're asking Mother Nature for help.

Connie Smith said,"I'm just hoping that we're going to get some rain so we won't have to worry with this."

Captain John wants the community to know despite the drought conditions there are still a lot of safe areas for recreation on Lake Conroe.

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