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Boaters upset over launch closures

October 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The water shortage in Southern California is having a major impact on recreation at a local lake. Boat launch ramps at Diamond Valley Lake near Hemet will be shut down in about 10 days because the water level is so low. It was five years ago Friday the boat launches at Diamond Valley Lake were open to the public and they have been well used.

On average 12,800 boats are launched a year. The water level in the lake is dropping.

"The boat ramps clearly show the challenges that we face. Storage here at Diamond Valley Lake could be half full by the end of the year," said Bob Muir, Metropolitan Water District.

The three launch areas will be closed in ten days. This is not good news for boat owners.

Marco Ayala is a frequent visitor to the lake.

"The water level has gone down at least, since the last time I was here, 4 feet or a little bit more. It is coming down fast," said Ayala.

Unfortunately all of the local lakes are low.

"They are all impacted. This is a little different because there is no body contact. It is very clean and very blue water. It is a fun place to come. There are a lot of things to check out," said Rick Murray, a boat owner.

"From Friday to Tuesday it looked like it dropped three feet. I could be wrong, but it looked like it dropped that much," said Stan Achhammer, a boat owner.

Diamond Valley Lake encompasses 4,500 acres and can store 810,000 acre feet of water. The level is now 480,000 acre feet.

Rental boats already in the water will continue to operate. Fishing from the shoreline has been expanded.

"The lake has not been closed down for recreation. People can use the shoreline, access the shoreline and fish. We have wonderful lake view trails where people can hike, bike and ride their horses," said Muir.

The lake remains open. Water district officials are hoping this will be a temporary closure. But at the same time they are predicting that unless Southern Californians conserve water, the water level at the lake will continue to drop dramatically.

 

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