Lake Isabella dries up, endangers businesses

Drought slows economy, but people remain hopeful

LAKE ISABELL, Calif. - The wet weather that is predicted to be coming our way soon is not expected to make any significant difference with the drought conditions we have been experiencing. 

"Economy is based on tourism and tourism is based upon the lake river," said Sara Ruiz. "There's no manufacturing or anything that up there, so without the lake and river, our economy suffers." 

But she's not the only one concerned about the lake drying up.

"A lot of businesses are going out because of the lake going low like it is," said John Cameron, a resident of Lake Isabella. "We know a few people that have lost their business because of it." 

But Cameron remains hopeful the situation will improve. "One of these days it's going to come back up again. It's a strong community," he said.

Many residents believe that too much water was released in the past because of structural issues with the dam, now only compounded by the drought. 

Water authority experts say if the dry conditions don't improve soon down the road, we could not only see this lake but others across the state dry up within two or three years. 

"It makes my heart sad," Ruiz said. "I just want my kids to be able to come out here back when they are grown with their kids. To enjoy the lake." 

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