Low lake levels leave Benbrook Marina bone-dry

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jodi Garcia closed up shop early on what should be one of their busiest days of the year.

Looking around the Benbrook Marina where she works, it’s easy to see why.

“Normally we’d have about 50 – 75 customers on a day like today,” she said. “The boat ramp, we’d have 30 – 50 boats launching and yeah nobody’s launching.”

The North Side of Benbrook Lake, traditionally the shallow part, has run dry, again.

“It’s hard. It’s sad. There’s not a lot to do on this side of town and this is one of the few lakes that people can come out and boat, jet ski, fish and picnic,” said Garcia. “People want to be around water.”

The lake, located about 10 miles southwest of Fort Worth, is 63% full, according to the Texas Water Development Board.

Garcia says they started to notice their lake bed drying up in late July. Lake levels are now down 10 feet.

Benbrook Lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The federal agency announced all boat ramps on Benbrook Lake are closed ‘due to the low lake elevation. Launching a trailered vessel from the shoreline is strictly prohibited. Smaller vessels, such as kayaks or john boats are able to be hand-loaded into the water.

The lake forms part of seven local waterways in the Trinity Regional Project feeding into the Clear Fork of the Trinity River.

Tarrant Regional Water District states that 15-20 % of the water it provides comes from Eagle Mountain Lake and Benbrook Lake.

“It would be nice to know what they do with the water every year, where it goes. They don’t tell us,” said Garcia. “But it always disappears about this time of the year.”

NBC 5 asked the TWDB for insight on low lake levels.

“The whole idea of our reservoirs is to store water when we have more of it and use it when we have less of it and we have a higher demand for it,” said Dr. Mark Wentzel, a hydrologist with the TWDB. “This year, the pattern has been a little more exaggerated. We’ve drawn down our reservoirs a little more statewide as well as Dallas – Fort Worth as well and we’ll need to recover in the winter.”

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