WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Drought conditions in Iowa are causing lake and river water levels to fall far below normal levels. This is causing the end of boat ramps to be closer to the surface, making for dangerous situations.
Wyth Lake at George Wyth State Park used to struggle with the water levels covering parking lots. Now, the lake is about five feet below the normal level.
Boaters need to be cautious of this because the boat ramps being close to the surface can make for a couple of feet of drop-off. Boats can get stuck, causing damage or injury. In some cases, boats may be able to get in the water but struggle to get back out.
"We just want everyone to use extreme caution. Pay attention to signs, they're there for your safety and everybody else's, and we're doing everything we can to make everything safe and accessible,” George Wyth State Park Manager Lori Eberhard said.
Other parks in the state are seeing the same issues. The absence of rain is not helping the situation.
Eberhard says an inch of rain would need to fall each week in order to start seeing some improvement.
"We don't want a flood, but we would like to have some regular amounts of rain, We're not the only ones, there are a couple other boat ramps across the state that are starting to post that there could be issues, so use extreme caution when launching your boats,” she said.
Contractors are adding rocks to extend the boat ramp at Wyth Lake. It is a temporary fix, but if the lake still doesn’t receive much rain, it might not be a fix at all.
George Wyth State Park has other boat ramps that are currently safe to use, but if the rainfall doesn’t increase they may have to close for a period of time.