The City of Brenham is under Stage 2 water restrictions, as the water levels at Lake Somerville continue to plummet.
"The fishing is lousy," said Steve Morton, who likes to fish all around the area. He said the low water levels kept him from taking his fishing pole out of his truck Monday. "Fishing is a lot better when there's water churning in the river down there."
Morton's recreation fun may be limited due to the lack of water, but according to Emmitt Attaway, the reservoir manager for Lake Somerville, boaters also face extreme hazards under shallow water.
"There are a few boat ramps that are open," said Attaway, "but they need to be very cautious when they’re on the lake." Attaway pointed to an island of sand, which is not usually visible in the middle of the lake. "There’s land that’s barely under the water; they need to be very careful," Attaway warned. He said the lake is currently 6.7 percent below its capacity of 238 feet.
According the Brazos River Authority spokesperson Judy Pierce, the low water levels are a result of various factors, including evaporation, high water usage and a lack of rain. Pierce said these conditions are more common during August and September. The BRA had recommended the City of Brenham put their drought contingency plan into place.
"It’s getting to where your lawn needs to be watered as much as they do during the summer time, so you can cut back on water there,” said Attaway.
Although conservation is the main concern for authorities, Attaway stressed the significance of water safety. "They also need to wear their life jackets when they’re out there.”
Although Attaway remains optimistic, he said further restrictions could be implemented if levels are not restored.
Here's a specific breakdown of Brenham's Drought Contingency Plan: