Low water levels at Bell County’s lakes have led to the closure of all swim beaches at the two reservoirs, officials announced.
The water at both Belton and Stillhouse Hollow lakes has dropped more than five feet, prompting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close the beaches, the agency said Friday.
“Currently lake levels are low enough that the designated swim areas are out of the water and cannot remain open,” Corps spokesman Clay Church said in a news release. “The impacted designated swim areas are at Cedar Ridge Park, Westcliff Park, Temple Lake Park, Stillhouse Park, Dana Peak Park, and Union Grove Park. This closure will remain in effect until further notice.”
Church said the public is still allowed to swim in the lakes, “but we urge you exercise extreme caution to underwater obstacles, be aware of your surroundings and, as always, please wear your life jacket whenever you are in or near the water.”
Boaters are urged to use extreme caution while on the water as areas that are usually safe to maneuver may now have unknown obstacles due to the low water levels, Church said.
State water data shows Lake Belton is 86.5% full while Stillhouse is at 85.7% full. Both lakes were 100% full a year ago.
Drought conditions ranging from moderate to severe continue to be felt in Bell County as a swath of extreme drought conditions affects areas to the west, including Coryell and Lampasas counties.
Stillhouse Hollow Lake is currently at 616 feet above sea level, down 5.37 feet from its normal elevation of 622 feet above sea level.
Lake Belton was at 588.93 feet above sea level Friday, down more than five feet from its normal elevation of 594 feet above sea level.
Both lakes were releasing small amounts of water into the Lampasas and Leon Rivers on Friday.
For weeks, the declining Lake Belton level has exposed manmade and natural hazards that were once far below the surface of the water, officials said. Some spots with hazards now visible are around Morgan’s Point Resort on Lake Belton.
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