It doesn't take an expert to realize something is off.
"Our lakes and reservoirs are being hit harder than they have in recent history, from the climate forces mostly," says Wayne Lisenbee, Abilene's Assistant Director of Water Utilities.
Lake Fort Phantom Hill, Abilene's main source of water, is nearly 13 feet below the spillway and a little over 44% filled. The city provided us with records from 2005 and this the lowest lake levels have been since then.
Lisenbee says, "The ground is so dry, that when it does rain, the ground soaks up most of that rain and it doesn't get to our resevoirs."
Though levels are frighteningly low, many residents living along the lake believe there is no cause for concern.
"I think it's very normal. I think the water level rises and falls every several years so this really isn't unusual," says David Womack, whose family has been living on the lake for decades.
And the city estimates the life expectancy of our reservoir looking at the worst drought conditions in history. In short: even if we were faced with them, we'd still have enough water for at least two years, before more desperate measures needed to be put in place. But conservation efforts still must be actively used.
"The lakes are depressed. They're not as bad as they've historically been but we could be there pretty soon. If we have 2 or 3 years in a row like 2011 we could be entering a record breaking area where we haven't seen in a really long time," says Lisenbee.