AUSTIN (KXAN) -
Texas has now been in the grips of a drought for two entire years.
And although the area is better off than we were a year ago, drought conditions are getting worse again.
October brought extremely low rainfall to the region, with Camp Mabry receiving less than an inch during the 31-day period. This is nearly three inches below average.
To make things worse, the rain gauge has been completely empty so far in November.
These dry conditions have forced one local business owner to change everything in order to stay afloat.
"Our main job is we paint the bottom of these boats," Fred Schroth, owner of a fiberglass shop on Lake Travis, said.
Schroth and his helper used to spend most of their time repairing and painting sailboats. But the drought has changed everything.
"The guys in the detailing business don't have anything to do, the guys in the dock building business don't have anything to do," Schroth said. "Everybody doesn't have anything to do."
The persistent drought in central Texas has reduced the water level in Lake Travis to nearly 36 feet below average.
Boats docked at marinas are still largely usable, but many lake-goers transport their boats to the water by trailer. This includes Schroth, whose shop is six-tenths of a mile from the water's edge. Lake levels are now too low for Schroth to move boats to and from his shop using a trailer.
"We hire a crane and we pull six or seven boats out," Schroth said. "And then we work on those boats for awhile and we put them back in."
Fewer lake-goers during this drought has meant less activity in the sailboat repair business. To adapt, Schroth was forced to look beyond his usual customer.
"We're building pedicabs because we don't have anything else to do because there aren't any sailboats to do right now," Schroth said.
Much-below average rainfall in October, and a completely dry November have caused drought conditions to worsen. Some areas of the Hill Country have now fallen back into the ‘severe drought' category.
The latest outlook from the Climate Prediction Center does not offer much relief – with drought conditions expected to worsen across much of the area during winter months.
"If we weren't so lucky to have the ability to branch out, then we would be closed and doing something else and moving away," Schroth said. "I'm just going to be a whole different business."
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