Long-time Learmonth resident Fon Ryan is standing on the jetty of Lake Learmonth.
He looks to a small puddle of water beyond and predicts the lake will be completely dry within two weeks.
The remaining patch of water is only a few centimetres deep.
It is an image of Mr Ryan’s hometown vastly different to his childhood growing up at the lake, where he learnt to swim and fish.
It was a time when hundreds visited Learmonth to take out their yachts and ski boats, fish and swim during the summer months.
“For me, the lake was going to be full forever,” Mr Ryan says.
“That was until it got to October 5 1996 when the weather changed. We are in a 22-year dry period now.”
Mr Ryan, 74, has recorded the water levels at Lake Learmonth since 1967. He still lives on its banks, just down the road from the house where he grew up and is now the chairperson of the Lake Learmonth Advisory Committee.
For me, the lake was going to be full forever.Fon Ryan
The lack of water at the lake today is no surprise to Learmonth residents following low rainfall, and it is not the first time it has been dry in recent years.
Lake Learmonth has not been full since 1996 and dried up completely in 2002 and 2015.
READ MORE: Even Lake Learmonth’s mud has dried out
Heavy rainfall in 2010/2011 brought welcome relief and the return of boating and fishing on the lake.
Mr Ryan said the high water levels played a big part in attracting visitors to the township.
“Recently some people have said when the lake is dry it takes a bit of the heart out of the town,” he says.
“It does subtract a bit of amenity for Learmonth people.”
READ MORE: Lake Learmonth almost full
After drying in 2015, the lake returned to half capacity in 2016, before dropping to its current level.
“It leaves us in much the same situation we have been in most of the time in the last 22 years,” Mr Ryan said.
“In 2011 it got stocked with fish and there was great angling for a couple of years and there was skiing, yachting and swimming, but that is about all.”
READ MORE: Avocets are flocking to Lake Learmonth
Low water levels in lakes around the region, including Lake Burrumbeet, means residents must travel to other regions in the search of water for recreational activities.
Mr Ryan said next summer at the lake will be a similar sad sight, unless there is heavy rainfall.
He said nothing can be done other than hoping for more rain, or a ‘giant’ political effort to bring in water from another region.
“Lake Learmonth holds 9000 megalitres of water. Through the dry years it would take 2000 megalitres of outside water to maintain it,” he said.
“Lake Wendouree is taking 1000 megalitres and a lot of that water is probably costing $300 per megalitre.”