WHITE BEAR LAKE, Minn. (WCCO) — Despite a wet summer that’s virtually wiped out Minnesota’s drought, White Bear Lake still has a problem.

The water level has been low for years.

And in a town that depends on tourism, having enough water for good boating, swimming and fishing is a big deal. At the moment, getting watercraft in and out of White Bear Lake is harder than it used to be.  And some swimming beaches are closed for a lack of water.

“We’ve lived on the lake 35 years, and it’s about five feet low, so it makes a major difference for shore line and for boating,” said Jean McBride, a resident.

The White Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce says lake water is seeping into a giant aquifer below. That aquifer is being depleted by water wells in White Bear, and northeast Twin Cities suburbs. Reducing water consumption should help the lake level.

“Conservation is what we can do right now. It’s what we should do right now, and it’s what people are going to tell us to do even more,” Scott Mueller of the Chamber of Commerce.

Businesses are putting moisture sensors on their sprinkler systems to prevent over-watering of lawns.

Landscapes are mulched to hold in moisture. At the White Bear Country Inn, faucets have new aerators to reduce flow. Special toilets and shower heads also save water.

Homeowners use the bulk of well water in the area, and businesses also want them to save water.

So far, 30 area businesses have pledged to use less water.

“This water issue is not just a White Bear Lake issue, it is a Minnesota issue,” Mueller said.

Some White Bear area restaurants are even putting placards on their tables telling homeowners some easy ways to help this effort.  The tips include advice like fixing leaky faucets, shortening showers and turning off the water while brushing teeth.

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