MEDINA COUNTY, Texas – The last six years have been anything but steady for Medina Lake.
Extreme drought, which started in 2011, would eventually bring the lake down to its riverbed, only to have water rushing over the spillway in 2016.
While the drought has been a bit more extreme in the last decade, it fits in with Medina Lake’s history. A reservoir used for irrigation, it is often susceptible to wild swings.
“Especially in the last couple of months, we just haven't had a good rain,” said Leonard Moore, a longtime Lakehills resident.
Living in the area for as long as he has, he knows what can happen when the lake goes down.
“People stop coming. There’s just no reason for them to come to the lake," Moore said.
As of Thursday, the lake was 45 percent full, almost 29 feet below conservation pool.
"Once you start seeing the rock formations, then it’s really going down,” Moore said. “Of course, closer to the dam, it’s still got some water. They can still get the boats on, but back up in [Pebble Creek], no, it’s almost impossible."
Just within a matter of a few months, the waters have already receded several hundred feet in the Pebble Beach area, one of the lake’s coves.
Docks can be seen sitting on dry land. Further down the lake, especially near the dam, boats are still able to launch.
"Right now, it’s still very launchable, very usable,” said Matthew Smyth, with Paradise Water Sports. "There are some hazard spots coming out, but that’s part of the lake going down."
Smyth hopes this is as low as the lake will go.
“People are starting to open back up, but if this water keeps dipping, and it gets to the point like it was, you know a lot of people are going to suffer again,” Smyth said. “I might not be able to make it through the second (drought)."
A strategically placed, healthy rainfall is exactly what is needed for Medina Lake.
“A good rain and it brings it right back to the top overnight,” Smyth said.
Despite the falling water level, Labor Day weekend is still expected to draw in big crowds.
"They'll still come. There's enough water that kids can get in and play, or if they can find a place to launch," Moore said.