MADISON, Wis. -

As lake levels around the area dip into the red, receding waters for one Dane County lake are saving residents thousands of dollars.

Crystal Lake, near Sauk City, along the Dane and Columbia county line, had flooding problems in 2009.

Just three weeks ago, area leaders lifted wake restrictions after years of keeping boaters off the flooded lake.

Residents along the lake said Thursday that water levels have dropped off 23 inches from the lake's highest point 15 months ago.

It's a big change compared to 2009, when floodwaters blocked off access roads and jeopardized homes.

Residents are still pumping water, except this time, it's for their dry crops.

"Sort of like you look at the glass as half-full or half-empty," said Dave Padley, who lives near the lake. "With a lot of rain, it was good for my crops, but the lake came up. But then this year, we've got the flip side, where the dry weather is great for the lake, but my crops aren't so good."

Lake district leaders said it takes about $2,500 to pump out an inch of water from the lake. With a 23-inch drop, that's close to $60,000 saved just by the dry weather dropping lake levels.

But the lake still remains a couple of feet above its ordinary high water mark -- remnants of a very wet year a few years ago.