Chris Van Horne, Fort Worth Reporter
Lake levels are dipping in North Texas, but not like last year nor should they before expected fall rains.
The heat and dry weather is starting to affect local lakes.
The situation is not nearly as bad as it was a year ago, but those who work and play on area lakes have noticed a drop.
Nick Jones, of Fort Worth, pulled his boat, Hearin' Now, out of Eagle Mountain Lake on Friday, where he said he has noticed a change on the water in recent weeks.
"When the season started, the lake level was very high, was very beautiful but, obviously, it's starting to go down again," Jones said.
While it hasn't affected his boating experience -- at least not yet -- it is a far cry from how things looked a year ago.
"It's appreciably better than last," he said. "At one point, those docks were nearly on the lake bed."
Harbor One Marina on Eagle Mountain said if the levels drop to 5 feet below normal, it would have to start moving boats. The current level is 4.34 feet below normal, according to the Tarrant Regional Water District's site.
Mark Olson, TRWD's conservation and creative manager, said the lake levels would drop this time of year, but not like last year.
"Our reservoirs were in good shape going into the summer," he said. "We don't expect to have to go into the Stage 1 restrictions this year. Our lake levels are going to decrease -- not only are people using water, but we have evaporation in our system."
The recent rise in temperatures, the summer spike in water use and the evaporation won't lead to the drastic scenes at area lakes seen in 2011.
"Compared to this time last year, we were dropping like a rock; approaching 75 percent capacity, which is our Stage ! drought trigger," Olson said. "And at this point, at 89 percent, we will not have to experience what we did last summer."
And come this fall, the TRWD expects the weather once again will be beneficial to area lakes.
"Yes, the chances of us having a little bit wetter weather are good," Olson said. "That is something we can hopefully look forward to."
Perhaps the best news is customer usage. TRWD said the summer spike is not as big as expected.
"Our demands are about 15 percent or more less than what we would expect in a year with these same conditions," Olson said.
In other words, people appear to be listening to water district and area cities' advice to only water twice a week. Olson said that watering schedule should keep most landscapes in North Texas alive until cooler and wetter weather arrives.
For more on water saving tips, visit TRWD's