I have archived the August 2017 Water Level Chart (at left). The most notable feature of the August chart is the same thing that stood out in the June and July charts: how slowly the lake level fell especially considering how little rainfall we’ve received. The lake level fell steadily over the course of the month with the exception of a small blip up on the 19th of the month as the result of what passes for heavy rains these days. Over the course of the month of August the lake lost and average of only 0.16″ per day, falling only 4.68″ over the course of the entire month. In July it fell 0.21″ per day and in June, 0.38″ per day. These rates of fall are fully 1/2 of what one would expect given the water level. As I stated in last month’s posting, it appears the retarded outflows are the result of the outlet channel being clogged with plant growth.
We received 2.29″ of rain in August with the average for Augusta being 3.31″ so for the month we’re only about an inch shy of rainfall. However, the average yearly rainfall for this date is 26.19″ but we’ve received only 21.28″ of rain so far, leaving us 4.91″ short of rainfall. According to the National Integrated Drought Information System we’re in a MODERATE drought.
The drought conditions we’ve been experiencing for the past two summers and the resulting reduced runoff has had a positive effect on water quality and lake transparency. This is often but not always the case with Maine lakes. Fortunately, it is so for Clary. At last check however transparency has begun to fall off. Traditionally, early fall after the lake turnover occurs is the most likely time for an algae bloom. This is because phosphorus (i.e., plant food) in the deeper, oxygen-deficient regions of the lake mixes with the surface waters, giving rise to increased algae growth. Total Phosphorus last checked on August 4th was 0.022 mg/liter which is high, but more or less normal for our lake. Time will tell.