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Drought & Low Water Levels = Slow Business On Area Lakes

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Joel Thomas
Joel is an Emmy Award winning journalist with more than 15 year...
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TARRANT COUNTY (CBS 11 NEWS) – The start of summer is usually synonymous with big business for shops along North Texas lakes. But with water levels sitting at historic lows, boaters are scarce. Now, as the season gets underway, those businesses are pinching their pennies, rather than counting their riches.

“We need rain, lots of rain,” said Marsha McLaren as she walked the wooden planks of the Lake Benbrook Marina where she works.

McLaren’s business is selling supplies to boaters and renting them slips to dock their boats. But most of those slips are empty.

Many boaters don’t want their boats in a lake with hazards like stumps and boulders exposed by low water levels. And that means Memorial Day Weekend business has sunk for the Benbrook marina.

“We would usually have a lot of boats, a lot of campers, a lot of picnickers,” McLaren said. “And with the drought, I don’t see it happening. I don’t see a lot of people out here because the lake is so low there’s stumps sticking up in the lake.”

The story is the same at lakes across North Texas.

And if people renting dock space are suffering, imagine what it’s like for the guys who build the docks.

The business Docks on Demand, near Benbrook Lake, has docks — but demand is drying up. “By Memorial Day we’re typically booked out through Labor Day,” said owner Troy Hamrick. “Right now we’re only booked into mid August.”

The dwindling workload means some of Hamrick’s dockbuilders are now unemployed.

“We were running eight guys,” Hamrick said. “Now we’re down to five. I have only one service unit. I used to have two complete trucks. And I’ve still got everything. It’s just sitting here.”

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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