Drought limits access to Walter E. Long Lake

There is still water in Walter E. Long Lake, but boaters who arrived Monday were turned around. City officials say the water is too low to safely operate a motorboat on the lake. 

The ramp closing surprised boaters some boaters. Chuck Diltz and his friend Jack Graham, from Lakeway, spoke to FOX 7 about it.

"There's a lot of water here compared to there. A lot of water," said Graham.

They, and others, got on the lake with kayaks, which are allowed along with canoes.

"The heat changed the fishing this summer. So, I can't say whether the water level has dipped or not," said Diltz.

The park is still open to the public, and swimming is allowed in authorized areas. The lake is used for triathlon meets. 


Officials with the parks department tell FOX 7 no events have been impacted by the low lake level and ramp closures.

Lake Walter E. Long was made to provide water to the Decker Power Plant. The level is maintained by pumping in water from the Colorado River. With the ongoing drought, the river flow is not enough to replace what the lake evaporates. 

Eventually the water will rise, and the drought situation has not dried up the bigger vision for this park. A master plan for a major redesign was adopted by the city council three years ago.

Estimated to cost around $800 million, the plan remains on the drawing board, but renovations will happen. FOX 7 is told design work should wrap up later this fall for improvements to roads and restrooms, as well as upgrades to some picnic areas.