Statewide drought is drying up Millerton Lake

Millerton Lake is currently at 32 percent of total capacity, according to the State Department of Water Resources.
March 23, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
People all over the state headed outside to enjoy the warm weather on Sunday, but the dry conditions across California are also affecting water levels at local lakes and reservoirs.

At Millerton Lake, miles and miles of parched soil remain where there was once water. According to the State Department of Water Resources, the lake is currently at 32 percent of total capacity.

"When the snow melts up in the Sierras, our lake level rises, so we're hoping for some more rain and snow, especially snow in the Sierras," said Mark DeLeon with California State Parks.

Attendance usually picks up in the spring, but right now, no one can believe just how much of the lake's bottom is exposed.

"It's really low right now; I have never seen it this low, and I have been coming here for 10 years," said James Maneechai of Fresno. "We are all fisherman here; we are all worried about the water. Where are the fish going to go? There's no place for them to go."

In some parts of the lake, the water levels are so low that birds can even find shallow areas where they can stand. Several boaters say they're being extra careful because they're worried about hitting rocks.

"It doesn't even look like a lake at all," said Vanessa Ochoa of Fresno.

Several of the people Action News spoke with on Sunday say looking at the low water levels is a visible reminder of how bad the drought really is.

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