Freshwater lakes in Texas show signs of extreme drought

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Monday, August 29, 2011

A public boat launch on Lake Palestine (in Henderson county) shows signs of low water levels
Image: Buddpaul.
An area of Lake Palestine near its northwestern-most section
Image: Buddpaul.

Extreme drought conditions this summer have reduced many of Texas' freshwater lakes to a fraction of their usual water levels. Central Texas, home to Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis, has seen severe effects of the drought. Those two lakes are currently 45 percent full and further drops in water levels are anticipated. Austin, the state's capital, has recorded 70 days of 100-degree heat already this summer.

The state saw less than an inch of rainfall in July alone. Residents of Henderson county are concerned that Lake Palestine has reached levels which haven't been seen since the 1980's. Some report that fishing in general has been hard-hit. Residents also report excessive sightings of snakes in and around residential areas near the lake, an effect believed to be caused by drought conditions.

Collectively, estimates recently showed the state's reservoirs to be at 68% capacity. Chris Ransom of Houston told Wikinews on August 21 that Sheldon Reservoir is "all dried up now." He went on to state that Lake Houston water levels have dropped significantly this summer. He also stated that, while an avid fisherman, he's ceased almost all such activities within the past few weeks. Meteorologist Bob Rose told news sources that heat conditions are likely to continue into September.


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