• Outdoors Outdoors

Officials highlight remarkable transformation of major lake as water levels rebound after drought: 'We should be OK through the summer'

"As of right now, our lakes are full."

"As of right now, our lakes are full."

Photo Credit: Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin

In Somerville, Texas, the straightforwardly named Lake Somerville is a fundamental resource. Its reservoir supplies the town's drinking and municipal water, and the lake is a beloved spot for recreational fishing, boating, and swimming. 

So when water levels dropped roughly 6 feet during last year's hot, drought-ridden summer — a heat wave that caused all 11 reservoirs in the area to go under drought warnings — it was bad news for residents and visitors alike. Fortunately, the lake's water levels are back up in time for summer.

"As of right now, our lakes are full, so it looks like we should be OK through the summer time," local meteorologist Matt Hines said, as reported by the local news. 

The good news reaches beyond Lake Somerville; other Texas lakes also experienced recent gains in water levels, as did lakes in similarly dry states.

However, Hines further said, "Droughts come and go here across Texas and right now, we are getting out of a drought. Now, if we have an extended period of time where we have no rain, sure, the drought can come back."

Weather is growing increasingly erratic and severe, and rapid changes in weather patterns — like drought — are becoming more common. Much of this is due to the impact of global heating; as the air heats up, water evaporates more rapidly. Because of these sudden changes, it's critical to work to conserve water, even when not in drought. 

You can improve your water usage in almost every facet of life, from using more efficient irrigation methods to replacing grass with a native plant lawn, installing a rain barrel to naturally and cheaply capture excess water, and making good use of your dishwasher.

Some researchers are also working on new methods of desalination to ensure a more abundant supply of freshwater.

Without water-saving methods like this in place year-round, residents in places like Somerville might find themselves in a difficult situation. For example, residents in Costa Rica are currently being called upon to ration their electricity usage since hydropower levels are dangerously low due to drought.

Nevertheless, local Somerville resident Chris Beasley celebrated the good news, stating, "It's making the fishing better. It's making the boating better. … It's a win, win."

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