Medina Lake down 4 feet from just last month, worrying residents, businesses

Residents, business owners want preventative action taken by managing agency

A San Antonio-area lake is drying up and residents fear a drought deja vu from 2013. A visit to the water reservoir next.

SAN ANTONIO – Tourist and business traffic has slowed down at Medina Lake.

While the water reservoir is a summer go-to spot for boating, water skiing, fishing and kayaking, water levels have quickly tanked.

Mike Candrall, owner of Wallys Watersports, is worried about the lower lake levels.

“I’ve seen the traffic going by my shop on the road-front, you know, it’s down 80%,” Candrall said. “(There are less) people coming out here to enjoy the lake because half the lake is gone.”

The drought and continued irrigation by farmers has contributed to the low water levels. Medina Lake’s current capacity is down to only 15%, a steep decline from just a month ago.

“It went down four feet in just May,” Candrall said.

Candrall and those who live and work in Medina constantly keep up with the data published by the Texas Water Development Board. With no chance of rain, they fear it will be as bad as it was in 2013. At that time, the lake was as low as 3.7% full.

Candrall now has to carefully navigate on foot through a long stretch of dry rock to reach his boat dock.

“We would be under water right now in the truck if the water was full,” he said.

Not far from his dock are a cluster of boat docks that currently sit on limestone. Candrall said many have taken their boats to other lakes, including Canyon Lake. And while he doesn’t blame them, it has had a negative impact on businesses like his.

“It definitely hurts,” he said. “I mean, I’m trying to keep a positive attitude, but, you know, it’s tough. Luckily, my kayaks and my ski school do really good. But (when it comes to boat) storages and (in) the shop selling water skis and inner tubes and stuff like that, (it hurts).”

While it’s normal for levels in the reservoir to fluctuate, Candrall and others want preventative action to be implemented at Medina Lake. Currently, the managing agency is Bexar-Medina Atascosa Counties Water Control And Improvement District No 1.

“The only thing I can see that’s ever going to help us, is that there is a conservation level put on,” Candrall said. “My thought is that somebody puts a conservation level on this. Like, maybe (once the water reduces to) 50%, 60% of (capacity)… stop the flow. Now, I’m all for the farmers, but they’re going to end up losing water, too, because it wasn’t conserved earlier.”

For now, Candrall can only hope for a major rain event to help restore Medina Lake.

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About the Authors:

Alicia Barrera is a KSAT 12 News reporter and anchor. She is also a co-host of the streaming show KSAT News Now. Alicia is a first-generation Mexican-American, fluent in both Spanish and English with a bachelor's degree from Our Lady of the Lake University. She enjoys reading books, traveling solo across Mexico and spending time with family.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.