Medina Lake is one of the more stark reminders of what drought conditions can do in Texas.
Lake levels have fallen to 14 percent capacity and the lake itself is down some 63 feet.
The Bexar-Medina-Atascosa Counties Water Control and Improvement District, or BMA, has declared Stage 4 for Medina Lake.
"The water's low, but water is an economic renewable resource. That’s what it is," said Ed Berger, business director for the BMA.
Stage 4 was declared Aug. 6 by the BMA, by definition, as Medina Lake fell below 46,000 acre feet for 30 consecutive days.
According to Berger, however, it may not be as dire as it sounds.
"We have a very proactive board of directors that in December decided we knew what shape the lake was in,” said Berger. “We did a real good job of controlling the lake down to where it is at, to where there is water left in the lake.”
Starting 2012 with a deficit, the BMA board took early provisions to protect the water they had, including lowering the allotment of irrigation water to area farmers. Still, many area farmers were able to turn a good crop.
"We know we need to protect farmers and their crops,” said Berger.
The BMA also decided in a July meeting that once Medina Lake fell to 35,000 acre feet, water released for irrigation would cease. This, said Berger, has now occurred. The action allows BMA’s municipal obligations to be met.
"They also determined that they were going to protect the city of San Antonio Municipal and allow enough water in there to take care of the city's needs,” said Berger.