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Recent rainfall brings Lake Elsinore's water level to near record totals

Recent rainfall causes water level at Lake Elsinore to swell
Recent rainfall causes water level at Lake Elsinore to swell 02:25

Record-setting amounts of rainfall dousing the West Coast in recent weeks have caused the water level at Lake Elsinore to reach near record totals, and with plenty more rain on the way, city officials expect to see that number grow even farther in the coming months. 

Lake Elsinore, the largest natural body of fresh water in Southern California, is well-known amongst water sport enthusiasts for its sprawling expanses of water and serene setting in the middle of the Inland Empire.

The Launch Pointe public beach, which can usually be seen crowded with people during summer months as they look to escape the heat, is currently sitting underneath around four feet of water after a series of powerful storms that doused the area.

"We're up almost eight feet in the last four months," said Jonathan Skinner, the Community Services Director of Lake Elsinore.

Usually the 3,000-acre lake is around 27 feet deep, but after the rain its an estimate 35-feet deep and that number is expected to grow with even more rain on the horizon. 

"The lake was a lot shallower, now I can see that it's coming up," said Lorena Maldonado, who lives in the area. "It does look a lot cleaner."

In the past, the lake has run into issues with the water quality. Most recently in 2022, the lingering drought paired with extremely high heat caused shallow water levels and a high level of toxic algae blooms, making it unsafe for the public and the wildlife living within.

Skinner says that the increased amount of precipitation has helped dissipate the algae in the lake and bring back a flourishing aquaculture. 

"We have bass, catfish, bluegill, redear sunfish, crappie, wiper and this kind of water here helps them," Skinner said. 

Along with the resurgence of wildlife, some residents expect that the swelled lake will also bring back a new wave of tourism to the area that was all but decimated due to the algae bloom.

"It really devastated our business that year, we're still recovering from that," said John Alarcon, who owns The Bobber on the Water and JT's Rentals, a pair of businesses in the area. He says that the lack of traffic in the area cost nearly $100,000 in losses and led to layoffs.

"Being able to look out right now and just see how high that water level is, it's just, I can't wait for summer to start."

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