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Lake nears record water levels after years of severe drought: 'It's been a while since we've seen this'

The resurgence of Belton Lake was a cause for celebration for local residents.

The resurgence of Belton Lake was a cause for celebration for local residents.

Photo Credit: iStock

Texas is known for its high heat and dry weather conditions, but recent storms brought unexpected benefits to the state's water sources.

As explained by Newsweek, a batch of heavy rain helped the water levels in Belton Lake reach a two-year high after the region was plagued by drought less than a year ago. 

In July 2023, water levels in the lake were reduced by 60% following months of no rain in the area. However, devastating rains in the first half of 2024 helped the reservoir make "a full recovery" to 100% capacity for the first time since 2022, and it "could rise another 10 feet over the next week," putting it at risk of flooding. 

The water level was measured at 601 feet in May, seeing a 14-foot increase in just one week. The resurgence of Belton Lake was a cause for celebration for Texas residents.

"It's been a while since we've seen this level at Lake Belton. 100% and the Leon River is still flowing strong!" social media user Randy Pittenger posted on X.

Texas has been dealing with a wave of extreme weather. Recent rain storms have led to a significant increase in flood warnings. A tornado that hit Hawley caused major damage to homes and left four people injured. Extreme heat remains an issue for the southern half of the state, leading to concerns about the electrical grid capacity.

Natural resource park ranger Arty Johnson with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lake Belton described the recent rain as "unusual," but Lake Belton wasn't the only one impacted. Water levels in Lake Waco rose 20 feet above average. Stillhouse Hollow Lake experienced a major recovery after rising 10 feet in less than a week and now sits just three inches below capacity. Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis are also improving at slow, steady paces.

Similarly, heavy rains in Southern California have brought eye-popping resurgences of the state's reservoirs. In April, it was reported that Lake Casitas is nearing 100% capacity for the first time since 1998, and water levels in Lake Elsinore have reached record highs in the aftermath of the storms.

These recent increases will go a long way toward helping improve water conservation in the respective states. The next step is to explore new methods to capture precipitation to save rainwater before the onset of droughts. This would contribute to a broader effort to adapt to the changing climate and ensure water security for the future. 

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