Evaporation and an ongoing lack of rainfall are forcing many business and property owners to reconsider their use of a common resource that was once cheap and plentiful - but now in short supply.
Ongoing drought conditions are turning a growing number of private ponds and community lakes into muddy puddles and causing commercial enterprises to turn off their water displays until conditions improve.
"Our community lake is down between three and four feet," said Wendell Hartley, 86. "It's so low my boat is stuck in the mud - I've never seen it this low."
Hartley's family has lived in Conroe's Artesian Lakes subdivision for nearly 50 years. The 35-acre community lake was originally fed by artesian springs that were blocked off with concrete when municipal water and sewer service replaced well and septic systems in the area during the early 70s.
Many decorative ponds and community lakes throughout Montgomery County are shrinking in size from lack of rainfall. Agricultural ponds and commercial reservoirs are experiencing the same issue.
In recent weeks, the Lone Star Cowboy Church in Montgomery petitioned city officials for a permit to drill a 5-inch well to replenish a pond used for a variety of purposes.
"The pond has been used to water livestock, provide irrigation and to water the roads and arena to keep dust down," said Brad Dorsey, business manager for LSCC.
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