Massive Drought in Texas Causes Receding Water Levels in Major Lake

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Apr 23, 2024

Droughts in Texas have resulted in a massive reduction of water levels in one of the state’s largest lakes.

Canyon Lake, in Comal County, has recorded the lowest levels of water since it was constructed in the 1960s.

Massive Drops in Water Levels

In April, the lake sank to a water level of 886.75 feet, leaving it at only 59% filled, according to Texas Water Data.

A view of a lake surrounded by city board walk and snow capped mountains in the background

Source: Wikipedia Commons

The lake is now at the lowest levels since it was created as a man-made lake in the 1960s. Construction was completed before filling the lake with millions of gallons of water.

Popular Swim Spot Effected

The 200,000 acre lake has been a popular swimming destination for decades.

A man jumped into a lake surrounded by trees

Source: Olivia Hutcherson/Unsplash

The severe drought, which has lasted for more than a year, will take a big hit on local and tourist activity in the state.

Severe Water Droughts in Texas

After a concerning lack of rainfall in the area, Texas has suffered extreme weather droughts unseen for the past 50 years. More than 50% of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

An empty river basin with dry red dirt and rocks

Source: Matt Palmer/Unsplash

Since the lake is not fed by any rivers or groundwater aquifers, rain water is the main source of water replenishment.

Gradual Decline Since Last Summer

Last year, the lake sank to a measly 892.65 feet, a level that hasn’t been recorded since 2009 when weather was also inexplicably dry.

A blue lake surrounded by dry shore and green trees

Source: @TheChefsGardens/X

Since the water levels were brought to the attention of climate scientists last year, the lake has continued its gradual decline.

Uses for Canyon Lake

The lake functions as a reservoir of the Guadalupe River. It was originally created to control flood levels and water conservation in the area. 

A group of people swimming and splashing in a large lake

Source: Sacha T Sas/Unsplash

Since then, the lake has become a massively popular destination with tourists and locals who use the lake to partake in fishing, swimming, and boating.


Low Levels Affecting Summer Experiences

Due to the massively low water levels in the lake, officials have had to close the boating ramps.

An aerial view of a large boat ramp surrounded by blue boats

Source: Hanson Lu/Unsplash

There is currently a plan in place to adapt to the changing conditions to ensure that Canyon Lake is still enjoyed by residents this summer.


Rain Is the Only Answer for Receding Water Levels

During an interview with My San Antonio, Jen Crownover, the Precinct 4 Commissioner for Comal County, said that rain is badly needed to restore normal levels in Canyon Lake.

Three men and one woman stand in front of a Texas Commissioners Association sign

Source: @ComalCountyTX/X

She went on to state that once the lake reaches normal levels the boat ramps can open.


Prolonged Droughts in the Area

Other western and southern states have also suffered from the same weather conditions as Texas.

A dry red dirt area with large rocks in the background

Source: Fiona Smallwood/Unsplash

Warming temperatures have increased the incidence of droughts causing widespread difficulties for residents. The higher temperatures also make weather events more unstable and unpredictable.


Other Lakes in the Area With Low Levels

Canyon Lake sits about 40 miles outside of San Antonio and Austin. Unfortunately, it’s not the only lake experiencing drastic water levels during the drought.

A view of a large blue lake surrounded by dry land

Source: Wikipedia Commons

Lake Mead and Lake Powell, which are also necessary reservoirs, have also experienced unprecedented water levels.


Drought Will Continue Into Summer Months

Moving into the warmer and drier summer months, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah are all expected to experience worsening levels of drought and lack of rainfall.

The bed of a dry lake filled with cracks in the mid and dry grass

Source: Hasan Ussaman/Unsplash

The bodies of water in these states are considerably low as it is and will continue to experience harsh conditions.


Experts Warn That Water Conservation Efforts Are Needed

In order to preserve the little amount of water left in the lake, conservation experts suggest that extreme initiatives need to be implemented.

A dying and dry tree in the bed of an empty lake

Source: Juanita Swart/Unspalsh

Cutting back on water consumption and diverting more water into the reservoir will be necessary to see levels remain the same through the rest of the drought.