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      No Water In Lake McClure, Houseboat Must Be Removed

      Valley Drought 2014 is taking even more of a toll on local lakes.Right now, more than a hundred house boats are being removed from Lake McClure in Mariposa County.Weeks ago, houseboat owners got a notice stating because of the lack of rain this year there may not be enough water in the lake for all the boats.Joe Cuchieri has been boating on Lake McClure for over 40 years.He says, "I think this is really sad to watch all this happen. See all the houseboats parked where we normally park boats and it must get better."The lakes water level is managed by the Merced Irrigation District.The water's primary function is to provide irrigation water to some 2,000 farmers in Merced County.However, right now the lake is only at 25 percent capacity and the Merced River which replenishes the lake is nearly bone dry.So without more rain, the water level is expected to drop to less than 5 percent capacity by December.Boater Brandon Rodriguez says, "It's amazing how low the water is and we never seen it that way for years. We are wondering how far it's going to go."So the race is on to get most of the 240 houseboats off the lake.So far, over 100 owners voluntarily removed their boats, in anticipation to a lack of water in the lake.Beginning next week Merced Irrigation District workers will start building drought mooring lines in the deepest water and begin moving the 100 or so houseboats into deeper water.Cuchieri says he's praying for a miracle.He adds, "We are going to need 3 good years, 4 good years of rain to get this up so we can enjoy it."