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Big Bear Lake Water Level Looks Dire From Satellite Image

As officials in Southern California start clamping down on residents’ outdoor watering amid a historic drought, the water level at one of SoCal’s most beautiful and popular destinations, Big Bear lake, is a cause for concern.

Water district officials are very concerned about the lake’s level, and how much lower it could get by the end of summer.

The water levels also affect local businesses.

It was busy Tuesday at Big Bear Sporting Goods as hikers and anglers grab some last minute supplies.

“We do a lot of fishing here. We sell a lot of fishing equipment it is a big part of our business. It impacts us when the water is low,” Jon Leroy said.

Leroy’s family has owned the store for about three decades.

He has seen the lake level’s highs and lows throughout those years. Right now the level is about 15 feet below full capacity.

A satellite image compares what the lake looks like when it is full versus how it looks today.

Leroy says he is an optimist, and always looks for the positives, even with the low lake level.

“A little lower lake level gives you a lot of beach allows you to go to some different areas to fish that you might not get to in higher water,” he said.

According to Big Bear Municipal Water District, the lake hasn’t been at full capacity for 10 years. The hope for a wet winter quickly soured after last February and March produced very little precipitation.

“At this level we are in pretty decent shape but if we continue this drought it could be some uncharted territory we really don’t know the answers to,” said Big Bear Municipal Water District’s Mike Stephenson.

Stephenson is the general manager for the water district. He says by mid to late summer, evaporation will most likely lower the lake another four feet.

And if next winter is also dry, it “will end up with the lowest lake level in history.”

“These marinas will struggle to find deep enough water to house their operation,” he said.

That means it’ll be tougher to get out on a boat.

“When the lake is difficult to recreate or difficult to gain access to, we certainly see less visitors and businesses definitely feel the effects of a lower lake level,” he said.

Despite the dire possibilities, Leroy remains optimistic that Big Bear Lake will get the wet winter it so desperately needs.

“Doesn’t take much to get this thing back up,” Leroy said.

Water district officials say that is true.

All it needs is one good wet winter.

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Source: NBC Los Angeles

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